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^arty t?i Jpri/ wi// fte published, 
In 2 vo^s. pos^ 8w. 

SIX MONTHS IN AMERICA. 



By G. T. VIGNE, Eso. 

OF Lincoln's inn, barrister-at-law. 



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DOMESTIC MANNERS 



THE AMERICANS. 



LONDON: 

GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS, 

ST. JOHN'S SQUARE. 



DOMESTIC MANNERS 



THE AMERICANS, 



BY MRS. TROLLOPE, 



" On me dit que pour\T.i que je ne parle ni de I'autorite, ni du culte, ni dela 
politique, ni de la morale, ni des gens en place, ni de I'opera, ni des autres 
spectacles, ni de personne qui tienne a quelque chose, je puis tout imprimer 
librement." — Mariage de Figaro. 



VOLUME I. 



LONDON: 
PRLNTED FOR WHITTAKER, TREACHER, & CO. 

AVE-MARIA-LANE. 



1832. 



PREFACE. 



In offering to the public these volumes on 
America, their author would rather be con- 
sidered as endeavouring to excite fresh 
attention on a very important subject, than 
as pretending to furnish complete informa- 
tion upon it. 

Although much has already been written 
on the great experiment, as it has been 
called, now making in government, on the 
other side of the Atlantic, there appears to 
be still room for many interesting details on 
the influence which the political system of 
the country has produced on the principles, 
tastes, and manners, of its domestic life. 

a 3 



VI PREFACE. 

The author of the following pages has 
endeavoured, in some degree, to supply this 
deficiency, by carefully recording the ob- 
servations she had an opportunity of making 
during a residence of three years and six 
months in different parts of the United 
States. 

She leaves to abler pens the more ambi- 
tious task of commenting on the democratic 
form of the American government; while, 
by describing, faithfully, the daily aspect of 
ordinary life, she has endeavoured to shew 
how greatly the advantage is on the side of 
those who are governed by the few, instead 
of the many. The chief object she has had 
in view is to encourage her countrymen to 
hold fast by a constitution that ensures all 
the blessings which flow from established 
habits and solid principles. If they forego 
these, they will incur the fearful risk of 



PREFACE. Vii 

breaking up their repose by introducing the 
jarring tumult and universal degradation 
which invariably follow the wild scheme 
of placing all the power of the state in the 
hands of the populace. 

The United States of America contain a 
considerable variety of interesting objects in 
most branches of natural science, besides 
much that is new, a good deal that is beau- 
tiful, and some things that are wonderful. 
Nevertheless, as it is the moral and reh- 
gious condition of the people which, be- 
yond every thing else, demands the attention 
of the philosophical enquirer, the author 
would consider her work as completely suc- 
cessful, could she but awaken a more general 
interest on this subject. 



HARROW, 

March, ]832. 



CONTENTS 



VOLUME I. 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

Entrance of the Mississippi — Balize 1 

CHAPTER n. 

New Orleans — Society — Creoles and Quadroons — Voyage up 
the Mississippi 7 

CHAPTER HI. 

Company on board the Steam-boat — Scenery of the Missis- 
sippi — Crocodiles — Arrival at Memphis — Nashoba 21 

CHAPTER IV. 

Departure from Memphis — Ohio River — Louisville — Cin- 
cinnati 43 

CHAPTER V. 

Cincinnati — Forest Farm — Mr. Bullock 60 

CHAPTER VI. 

Servants — Society — Evening Parties 7-^ 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VII. 

PAGE 

Market — Museum — Picture Gallery — Academy of Fine Arts 
— Drawing School — Phrenological Society — ]\Iiss Wright's 
Lecture 85 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Absence of public and private Amusement — Churches and 
Chapels — Influence of the Clergy — A Revival 101 

CHAPTER IX. 

Schools — Climate — Water Melons — Fourth of July — Storms 
— Pigs — Moving Houses — Mr. Flint — Literature 114 

CHAPTER X. 

Removal to the Country — Walk in the Forest — Equality. . . . 132 

CHAPTER XI. 

Religion 1 50 

CHAPTER XII. 

Peasantry, compared to that of England — Early Marriages — 
Charity — Independence and Equality — Cottage Prayer- 
meeting , 163 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Theatre — Fine Arts — Delicacy — Shaking Quakers — Big- 
Rone Lick — Visit of the President 183 

CHAPTER XIV. 

American Spring — Controversy between Messrs. Owen and 
Campbell — Public Ball — Separation of the Sexes — Ame- 
rican freedom — Execution 203 



CONTENTS. xi 

CHAPTER XV. 

PAGE 

Camp- Meeting 233 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Danger of rural Excursions — Sickness 247 

CHAPTER XVn. 

Departure from Cincinnati — Society on board the Steam- 
boat — Arrival at Wheeling — Bel Esprit 255 

CHAPTER XVni. 

Departure for the Mountains in the Stage — Scenery of the 
Alleghany — Haggerstown 270 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Baltimore — Catholic Cathedral — St. Mary's College — Ser- 
mons — Infant School 289 

CHAPTER XX. 

Voyage to Washington — Capitol — City of Washington — 
Congress — Indians — Funeral of a Member of Congress . . . 305 



DOMESTIC MANNERS 

OF THE 

AMERICANS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Entrance of the Mississippi — Balize. 

Ox the 4th of November, 1827, I sailed from Lon- 
don, accompanied by my son and two daughters ; 
and after a favourable, though somewhat tedious 
voyage, anived on Christmas-day at the mouth of 
the Mississippi. 

The first indication of our approach to land was 
the appearance of this mighty river pouring forth 
its muddy mass of waters, and mingling with the 
deep blue of the Mexican Gulf. The shores of 
this river are so utterly flat, that no object upon 
them is perceptible at sea, and we gazed with 
pleasure on the muddy ocean that met us, for it 
told us we were arrived, and seven weeks of sailing 
had wearied us ; yet it was not without a feeling 

VOL. I. B 



2 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

like regret that we passed from the bright bkie 
waves, whose varying aspect had so long furnished 
our chief amusement, into the murky stream which 
now received us. 

Large flights of pelicans were seen standing 
upon the long masses of mud which rose above the 
surface of the waters, and a pilot came to guide us 
over the bar, long before any other indication of 
land was visible. 

I never beheld a scene so utterly desolate as this 
entrance of the Mississippi. Had Dante seen it, 
he might have drawn images of another Bolgia 
from its hoiTors. One only object rears itself 
above the eddying waters ; this is the mast of a 
vessel long since wrecked in attempting to cross 
the bar, and it still stands, a dismal witness of the 
destruction that has been, and a boding prophet 
of that which is to come. 

By degrees bulrushes of enormous growth be- 
come visible, and a few more miles of mud brought 
us within sight of a cluster of huts called the 
Balize, by far the most miserable station that I ever 
saw made the dwelling of man, but I was told that 
many families of pilots and fishermen lived there. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 3 

For several miles above its mouth, the Missis- 
sippi presents no objects more interesting than 
mud banks, monstrous bulrushes, and now and 
then a huge crocodile luxuriating in the slime. 
Another circumstance that gives to this dreary 
scene an aspect of desolation, is the incessant 
appearance of vast quantities of drift wood, which 
is ever finding its way to the different mouths of 
the Mississippi. Trees of enormous length, some- 
times still bearing their branches, and still oftener 
their uptorn roots entire, the victims of the fre- 
quent hurricane, come floating down the stream. 
Sometimes several of these, entangled together, 
collect among their boughs a quantity of floating 
rubbish, that gives the mass the appearance of a 
moving island, bearing a forest, with its roots 
mocking the heavens ; while the dishonoured 
branches lash the tide in idle vengeance : this, as 
it approaches the vessel, and glides swiftly past, 
looks like the fragment of a world in ruins. 

As we advanced, however, we were cheered, 
notwithstanding the season, by the bright tints of 
southern vegetation. The banks continue inva- 
riably flat, but a succession of planless villas, 

B 2 



4 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

sometimes merely a residence, and sometimes sur- 
rounded by their sugar grounds and negro huts, 
varied the scene. At no one point was there an 
inch of what painters call a second distance ; and 
for the length of one hundred and twenty miles, 
from the Balize to New Orleans, and one hundred 
miles above the town, the land is defended from 
the encroachments of the river by a high embank- 
ment which is called the Levee ; without which 
the dwellings would speedily disappear, as the 
river is evidently higher than the banks would be 
without it. When we arrived, there had been 
constant rains, and of long continuance, and this 
appearance was, therefore, unusually striking, 
giving to " this great natural feature" the most 
unnatural appearance imaginable ; and making 
evident, not only that man had been busy there, 
but that even the mightiest works of nature might 
be made to bear his impress ; it recalled, literally, 
vSwift's mock heroic, 

** Nature must give way to art ;" 

yet, she was looking so mighty, and so unsubdued 
all the time, that 1 could not help fancying she 



OF THE AMERICANS. 5 

would some day take the matter into her own 
hands again, and if so, farewell to New Orleans. 

It is easy to imagine the total want of beauty in 
such a landscape ; but yet the form and hue of the 
trees and plants, so new to us, added to the long 
privation we had endured of all sights and sounds 
of land, made even these swampy shores seem 
beautiful. We were, however, impatient to touch 
as well as see the land ; but the navigation from 
the Balize to New Orleans is difficult and tedious, 
and the two days that it occupied appeared longer 
than any we had passed on board. 

In truth, to those who have pleasure in contem- 
plating the phenomena of nature, a sea voyage may 
endure many weeks without wearying. Perhaps 
some may think that the first glance of ocean and 
of sky shew all they have to offer ; nay, even that 
that first glance may suggest more of dreariness than 
sublimity ; but to me, their variety appeared end- 
less, and their beauty unfailing. The attempt to 
describe scenery, even where the objects are pro- 
minent and tangible, is very rarely successful ; but 
where the effect is so subtile and so varying, it 
must be vain. The impression, nevertheless, is 
B 3 



b DOMESTIC MANNERS 

perhaps deeper than any other ; I think it possible 
I may forget the sensations with which I watched 
the long course of the gigantic Mississippi ; the 
Ohio and the Potomac may mingle and be con- 
founded with other streams in my memory, I may 
even recall with difficulty the blue outline of the 
Alleghany mountains, but never, while I remember 
any thing, can I forget the first and last hour of 
light on the Atlantic. 

The ocean, however, and all its indescribable 
charm, no longer surrounded us ; we began to feel 
that our walk on the quarter-deck was very like 
the exercise of an ass in a mill ; that our books had 
lost half their pages, and that the other half were 
known by rote ; that our beef was very salt, and 
our biscuits very hard ; in short, that having studied 
the good ship, Edward, from stem to stern till we 
knew the name of every sail, and the use of every 
pulley, we had had enough of her, and as we laid 
down, head to head, in our tiny beds for the last 
time, I exclaimed with no small pleasure, 

" To-morrow to frcsli fields and pastures new." 



OF THE AMERICANS. 



CHAPTER 11. 

New Orleans — Society — Creoles and Quadroons — 
Voyage iqi the Mississippi. 

On first touching the soil of a new land, of a new 
continent, of a new world, it is impossible not to 
feel considerable excitement and deep interest in 
almost every object that meets us. New Orleans 
presents very little that can gratify the eye of 
taste, but nevertheless there is much of novelty and 
interest for a newly arrived European. The large 
proportion of blacks seen in the streets, all labour 
being performed by them ; the grace and beauty of 
the elegant Quadroons, the occasional groups of 
wild and savage looking Indians, the unwonted 
aspect of the vegetation, the huge and turbid river, 
with its low and slimy shore, all help to afford that 
species of amusement which proceeds from looking 
at what we never saw before. 

The town has much the appearance of a French 
Ville de Province, and is, in fact, an old French 
B 4 



8 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

colony taken from Spain by France. The names 
of the streets are French, and the language about 
equally French and English. The market is hand- 
some and well supplied, all jn'oduce being con- 
veyed by the river. We were much pleased by 
the chant with which the Negro boatmen regulate 
and beguile their labour on the river ; it consists 
but of very few notes, but they are sweetly hamio- 
nious, and the Negro voice is almost always rich 
and powerful. 

By far the most agreeable hours I passed at New 
Orleans were those in which I explored with my 
children the forest near the town. It was our first 
walk in " the eternal forests of the western world,^' 
and we felt rather sublime and poetical. The 
trees, generally speaking, are much too close to be 
either large or well grown ; and, moreover, their 
growth is often stunted by a parasitical plant, for 
which I could learn no other name than *' Spanish 
moss;" it hangs gracefully from the boughs, con- 
verting the outline of all the trees it hangs upon 
into that of weeping willows. The chief beauty 
of the forest in this region is from the luxuriant 
under-growth of palmetos, which is decidedly the 



OF THE AMERICAX.S, g 

loveliest coloured and most graceAd plaiU I kncv. 
The pawpaw, too, is a splendid shrub, and in 
g.-eat abundance. We here, for the first time, saw 
the wild vine, which we afterwards found growing 
so profusely in every part of America, as naturally 
to suggest the idea that the natives ought to add 
wine to the numerous productions of their plenty- 
teeming soil. The strong pendant festoons made 
safe and commodious swings, which some of our 
party enjoyed, despite the sublime temperament 
above-mentioned. 

Notwithstanding it was mid-winter when we 
were at New Orleans, the heat was much more 
than agreeable, and the attacks of the mosquitos 
incessant, and most tormenting ; yet I suspect that, 
for a short time, we would rather have endured it, 
than not have seen oranges, green peas, and red 
pepper, growing in the open air at Christmas. I„ 
one of our rambles we ventured to enter a garden, 
whose bright orange hedge attracted our attention;' 
here we saw green peas fit for the table, and a fine' 
crop of red pepper ripening in the sun. A young 
Negi-ess was employed on the steps of the house" 
that she was a slave made her an object of interest 
B 5 



10 DOMESTIC 3IANXERS 

to US. She was the first slave we had ever spoken 
to, and I believe we all felt that we could hardly 
address her with sufficient gentleness. She little 
dreamed, poor girl, what deep sympathy she 
excited ; she answered us civilly and gaily, and 
seemed amused at our fancying there was some- 
thing unusual in red pepper pods ; she gave us 
several of them, and I felt fearful lest a hard mis- 
tress might blame her for it. How very childish 
does ignorance make us I and how very ignorant 
we are upon almost every subject, where hear-say 
evidence is all we can get ! 

I left England with feelings so strongly opposed 
to slavery, that it was not without pain I witnessed 
its effects around me. At the sight of every Negro 
man, woman, and child that j^assed, my fancy 
wove some little romance of misery, as belonging 
to each of them ; since I have known more on the 
subject, and become better acquainted with their 
real situation in America, I have often smiled at 
recalling what I then felt. 

The first symptom of American equality that I 
perceived, was my being introduced in form to a 
milliner ; it was not at a boarding-house, under the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 11 

indistinct outline of " Miss C*****," nor in the 
street through the veil of a fashionable toilette, but 
in the very penetralia of her temple, standing 
behind her counter, giving laws to ribbon and to 
wire, and ushering caps and bonnets into exist- 
ence. She was an English woman, and I was 
told that she possessed great intellectual endow- 
ments, and much information ; 1 really believe this 
was true. Her manner was easy and graceful, 
with a good deal of French tournure ; and the gen- 
tleness with which her fine eyes and sweet voice 
directed the movements of a young female slave, 
was really touching : the way, too, in which she 
blended her French talk of modes with her cus- 
tomers, and her English talk of metaphysics with 
her friends, had a pretty air of indifference in it, 
that gave her a superiority with both. 

I found with her the daughter of a judge, emi- 
nent, it was said, both for legal and literary ability, 
and I heard from many quarters, after I had left 
New Orleans, that the society of this lady was 
highly valued by all persons of talent. Yet were 
I, traveller-like, to stop here, and set it down as a 
national peculiarity, or republican custom, that 
B 6 



12 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

milliners took the lead in the best society, I should 
greatly falsify facts. T do not remember the same 
thing happening to me again, and this is one 
instance among a thousand, of the impression 
every circumstance makes on entering a new 
country, and of the propensity, so iiTcsistible, to 
class all things, however accidental, as national 
and peculiar. On the other hand, however, it is 
certain that if similar anomalies are unfrequent in 
America, they are nearly impossible elsewhere. 

In the shop of Miss C***** I was introduced to 
Mr. M^Clure, a venerable personage, of gentle- 
manlike appearance, who in the course of five mi- 
nutes propounded as many axioms, as '' Ignorance 
is the only devil :" '' Man makes his own exist- 
ence ;" and the like. He was of the New Har- 
mony school, or rather the New Harmony school 
was of him. He was a man of good fortune, (a 
Scotchman, I believe), who after living a tolerably 
gay life, had " conceived high thoughts, such as 
Lycurgus loved, who bade flog the little Spartans," 
and determined to benefit the species, and immor- 
talize himself, by founding a jDhilosophical school 
at New Harmony. There was something in the 




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y -- -v.^^ <%-< 




PMF, ii.osoi'StiiiCAi. .MiiiLLiin F n';v .^ni^rjR.iio 



OF THE AMERICANS. 13 

hollow square legislations of Mr. Owen, that struck 
him as admirable, and he seems, as far as I can 
understand, to have intended aiding his views, by 
a sort of incipient hollow square drilling ; teaching 
the young ideas of all he could catch, to shoot into 
parallelogramic form and order. This venerable 
philosopher, like all of his school that I ever heard 
of, loved better to originate lofty imaginings of 
faultless systems, than to watch their application 
to practice. With much liberality he purchased 
and conveyed to the wilderness a very noble col- 
lection of books and scientific instruments; but 
not finding among men one whose views were 
liberal and enlarged as his own, he selected a 
woman to put into action the machine he had 
organized. As his acquaintance with this lady 
had been of long standing, and, as it was said, very 
intimate, he felt sure that no violation of his rules 
would have place under her sway ; they would 
act together as one being : he was to perform the 
functions of the soul, and will every thing ; she, 
those of the body, and perform ev^ery thing. 

The principal feature of the scheme was, that 
(the first liberal outfit of the institution having 



14 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

been furnished by Mr. M'Clure,) the expense of 
keepmg it up should be defrayed by the profits 
arising from the labours of the pupils, male and 
female, which was to be performed at stated 
intervals of each day, in regular rotation with 
learned study and scientific research. But unfor- 
tunately the soul of the system found the climate 
of Indiana uncongenial to its peculiar formation, 
and, therefore, took its flight to Mexico, leaving 
the body to perform the operations of both, in 
whatever manner it liked best; and the body, 
being a French body, found no difficulty in setting 
actively to work without troubling the soul about 
it; and soon becoming conscious that the more 
simple was a machine, the more perfect were its 
operations, she threw out all that related to the 
intellectual part of the business, (which to do poor 
soul justice, it had laid great stress upon), and 
stiiTcd herself as effectually as ever body did, to 
draw wealth from the thews and sinews of the 
youths they had collected. When last I heard 
of this philosophical establishment, she, and a 
nephew-son were said to be reaping a golden 
harvest, as many of the lads had been sent from a 



OF THE AMERICANS, 15 

distance by indigent parents, for gratuitous educa- 
tion, and possessed no means of leaving it. 

Our stay in New Orleans was not long enough 
to permit our entering into society, but I was told 
that it contained two distinct sets of people, both 
celebrated, in their way, for their social meetings 
and elegant entertainments. The first of these 
is composed of Creole families, who are chiefly 
planters and merchants, with their wives and 
daughters ; these meet together, eat together, and 
are very grand and aristocratic ; each of their balls 
is a little Almack's, and every portly dame of the 
set is as exclusive in her principles as a lady 
patroness. The other set consists of the excluded 
but amiable Quadroons, and such of the gentlemen 
of the fonner class as can by any means escape 
from the high places, where pure Creole blood 
swells the veins at the bare mention of any being 
tainted in the remotest degi'ee with the Negro stain. 

Of all the prejudices I have ever witnessed, this 
appears to me the most violent, and the most 
inveterate. Quadroon girls, the acknowledged 
daughters of wealthy American or Creole fathers, 
educated with all of style and accomplishments 



16 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

which money can procure at New Orleans, and with 
all the decorum that care and affection can give ; 
exquisitely beautiful, graceful, gentle, and amiable, 
these are not admitted, nay, are not on any terms 
admissible, into the society of the Creole families 
of Louisiana. They cannot marry ; that is to say, no 
ceremony can render an union with them legal or 
binding ; yet such is the powerful effect of their 
very peculiar grace, beauty, and sweetness of man- 
ner, that unfortunately they perpetually become 
the objects of choice and affection. If the Creole 
ladies have privilege to exercise the awful power 
of repulsion, the gentle Quadroon has the sw^eet 
but dangerous vengeance of possessing that of 
attraction. The unions formed w^ith this unfortunate 
race are said to be often lasting and happy, as far 
as any unions can be so, to which a certain degree 
of disgrace is attached. 

There is a French and an English theatre in 
the town ; but w-e were too fresh from Europe to 
care much for either ; or, indeed, for any other 
of the town delights of this city, and we soon 
became eager to commence our voyage up the 
Mississippi. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 17 

Miss Wright, then less known (though the 
author of more than one clever volume) than she 
has since become, was the companion of our 
voyage from Europe ; and it was my purpose to 
have passed some months with her and her sister 
at the estate she had purchased in Tennessee. 
This lady, since become so celebrated as the advo- 
cate of opinions that make millions shudder, and 
some half-score admire, was, at the time of my 
leaving England with her, dedicated to a pursuit 
widely different from her subsequent occupations. 
Instead of becoming a pubUc orator in every town 
throughout America, she was about, as she said, 
to seclude herself for life in the deepest forests of 
the western world, that her fortune, her time, and 
her talents might be exclusively devoted to aid the 
cause of the suffering Africans. Her first object 
w^as to shew^ that nature had made no difference 
between blacks and whites, excepting in com- 
plexion ; and this she expected to prove by giving 
an education perfectly equal to a class of black 
and white children. Could this fact be once fully 
established, she conceived tliat the Negro cause 
would stand on firmer ground than it had yet 



18 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

done, and the degraded rank which they have ever 
held amongst civihzed nations would be proved to 
be a gross injustice. 

This question of the mental equality, or inequa- 
lity between us, and the Negro race, is one of great 
interest, and has certainly never yet been fairly 
tried ; and I expected for my children and myself 
both pleasure and information from visiting her 
establishment, and watching the success of her 
experiment. 

The innumerable steam boats, which are the 
stage coaches and fly waggons of this land of lakes 
and rivers, are totally unlike any I had seen in 
Europe, and greatly superior to them. The fabrics 
which I think they most resemble in a])pearance, 
are the floating baths (les bains Vigier) at Paris. 
'The annexed drav.ing will give a correct idea of 
tlieir form. The room to which the double line of 
windows belongs, is a very handsome apartment; 
before each window a neat little cot is arranged in 
such a manner as to give its drapery the air of a 
window curtain. This room is called the gentle- 
men's cabin, and their exclusive right to it is some- 
what uncourteously insisted upon. The breakfast, 



m::^^^^^^^^^^,-^:^^^ 




OF THE AMERICANS. 19 

dinnei-j and supper are laid in this apartment, and 
the lady passengers are permitted to take their 
meals there. 

On the first of January, 1828, we embarked on 
board the Belvidere, a large and handsome boat ; 
though not the largest or handsomest of the many 
which displayed themselves along the wharfs ; but 
she was going to stop at Memphis, the point of the 
river nearest to Miss Wright's residence, and she was 
the first that departed after we had got through the 
custom-house, and finished our sight-seeing. We 
found the room destined for the use of the ladies 
dismal enough, as its only windows were below 
the stern gallery ; but both this and the gentlemen's 
cabin were handsomely fitted up, and the former 
well carpeted ; but oh ! that carpet ! I will not, I 
may not describe its condition ; indeed it requires 
the pen of a Swift to do it justice. Let no one 
who wishes to receive agreeable impressions of 
American manners, commence their travels in a 
Mississippi steam boat ; for myself, it is with all 
sincerity I declare, that I would infinitely prefer 
sharing the apartment of a party of well condi- 
tioned j^igs to the being confined to its cabin. 



20 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repug- 
nant to English feelings, as the incessant, remorse- 
less spitting of Americans. I feel that I owe my 
readers an apology for the repeated use of this, 
and several other odious words ; but I cannot 
avoid them, without suffering the fidelity of 
description to escape me. It is possible that in 
this phrase, " Americans," I may be too general. 
The United States form a continent of almost 
distinct nations, and I must now, and always, be 
understood to speak only of that portion of them 
which I have seen. In conversing with Americans 
I have constantly found that if I alluded to any 
thing which they thought I considered as uncouth, 
they would assure me it was local, and not 
national ; the accidental peculiarity of a very small 
part, and by no means a specimen of the whole. 
" That is because you know so little of America," 
is a phrase I have listened to a thousand times, 
and in nearly as many different places. It may 
he so — and having made this concession, I protest 
against the charge of injustice in relating what I 
have seen. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 21 



CHAPTER III. 

Company on hoard the Steam Boat — Scenery 
of the Mississippi — Crocodiles — Arrival at 
Memph is — Nashoha. 

The weather was warm and bright, and we found 
the guard of the boat, as they call the gallery that 
runs round the cabins, a very agreeable station ; 
here we all sat as long as light lasted, and some- 
times wrapped in our shawls, we enjoyed the clear 
bright beauty of American moonlight long after 
every passenger but ourselves had retired. We 
had a full complement of passengers on board. 
The deck, as is usual, was occupied by the Ken- 
tucky flat-boat men, returning from New Orleans, 
after having disposed of the boat and cargo which 
they had conveyed thither, with no other labour 
than that of steering her, the current bringing her 
down at the rate of four miles an hour. We had 
about two hundred of these men on board, but the 



22 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

part of the vessel occupied bj them is so distinct 
from the cabins, that we never saw them, except 
when we stopped to take in wood ; and then they 
ran, or rather sprung and vaulted over each other's 
heads to the shore, whence they all assisted in 
carrying wood to supply the steam engine ; the 
performance of this duty being a stipulated j)art of 
the payment of their passage. 

From the account given by a man servant we 
had on board, who shared their quarters, they are 
a most disorderly set of persons, constantly gam- 
bling and wrangling, very seldom sober, and never 
suffering a night to pass without giving practical 
proof of the respect in which they hold the doc- 
trines of equality, and community of property. 
The clerk of the vessel was kind enough to take 
our man under his protection, and assigned him a 
berth in his own little nook ; but as this was not 
inaccessible, he told him by no means to detach 
his watch or money from his person during the 
night. Whatever their moral characteristics may 
be, these Kentuckians are a very noble-looking 
race of men ; tlieir average height considerably 
exceeds that of Europeans, and their counte- 
1 



OF THE AMERICANS. 23 

nances, excepting when disfigured by red hair, 
which is not unfrequent, extremely handsome. 

The gentlemen in the cabin (we had no ladies) 
would certainly neither, from their language, man- 
ners, nor appearance, have received that designa- 
tion in Europe ; but we soon found their claim to 
it rested on more substantial ground, for we heard 
them nearly all addressed by the titles of general, 
colonel, and major. On mentioning these mili- 
tary dignities to an English friend some time 
afterwards, he told me that he too had made the 
voyage with the same description of company, but 
remarking that there was not a single captain 
among them; he made the observation to a fellow- 
passenger, and asked how he accounted for it. 
" Oh, sir, the captains are all on deck," was the 
reply. 

Our honours, however, were not all military, for 
we had a judge among us. I know it is equally 
easy and invidious to ridicule the peculiarities of 
appearance and manner in people of a different 
natie«i from ourselves ; w^e may, too, at the same 
moment, be undergoing the same ordeal in their 
estimation ; and, moreover, I am by no means 



24 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

disposed to consider whatever is new to me as 
therefore objectionable ; but, nevertheless, it was 
impossible not to feel repugnance to many of the 
novelties that now surrounded me. 

The total want of all the usual courtesies of the 
table, the voracious rapidity with which the viands 
were seized and devoured, the strange uncouth 
phrases and pronunciation ; the loathsome spittings 
from the contamination of which it was absolutely 
impossible to protect our dresses; the frightful 
manner of feeding with their knives, till the whole 
blade seemed to enter into the mouth ; and the 
still more frightful manner of cleaning the teeth 
afterwards with a pocket knife, soon forced us to 
feel that we were not surrounded by the generals, 
colonels, and majors of the old world ; and that the 
dinner hour was to be any thing rather than an 
hour of enjoyment. 

The little conversation that went forward while 
we remained in the room, was entirely political, 
and the rcsiDcctive claims of Adams and Jackson 
to the presidency were argued with more oaths 
and more vehemence than it had ever been my 
lot to hear. Once a colonel aj^peared on the verge 



OF THE i^MERICAXS. 25 

of assaulting a major, when a huge seven -foot 
Kentuckian gentleman horse- dealer, asked of the 
heavens to confound them hoth, and bade them 
sit still and be d — d. We too thought we should 
share this sentence ; at least sitting still in the 
cabin seemed very nearly to include the rest of it, 
and we never tarried there a moment longer than 
was absolutely necessary to eat. 

The unbroken flatness of the banks of the 
IMississippi continued unvaried for many miles 
above New Orleans ; but the graceful and luxu- 
riant palmetto, the dark and noble ilex, and the 
bright orange, were every where to be seen, and it 
was many days before we were weary of looking at 
them. We occasionally used the opportunity of 
the boat's stopping to take in wood for a ten 
minutes' visit to the shore ; we in this manner 
explored a field of sugar canes, and loaded our- 
selves with as much of the sweet spoil as we could 
carr)\ Many of the passengers seemed fond of 
the luscious juice that is easily expressed from the 
canes, but it was too sweet for my palate. We 
also visited, in the same rapid manner, a cotton 
plantation. A handsome spacious building was 

VOL. I. C 



26 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

pointed out to us as a convent, where a consider- 
able number of young ladies were educated by 
the nuns. 

At one or two points the wearisome level line of 
forest is relieved by bluffs, as they call the short 
intervals of high ground. The town of Natches 
is beautifully situated on one of these high spots ; 
the climate here, in the warm season, is as fatal as 
that of New Orleans ; were it not for this, Natches 
w^ould have great attractions to new settlers. The 
beautiful contrast that its bright green hill forms 
with the dismal line of black forest that stretches 
on every side, the abmidant growth of pawpaw, 
palmetto and orange, the copious variety of sweet- 
scented flowers that flourish there, all make it 
appear like an oasis in the desert Natches is 
the furthest point to the north at which oranges 
ripen in the open air, or endure the winter without 
shelter. With the exception of this sweet spot, I 
thought all the little towns and villages we passed, 
wretched looking, in the extreme. As the dis- 
tance from New Orleans increased, the air of 
wealth and comfort exhibited in its immediate 
neighbourhood disappeared, and but for one or 



OF THE AMERICANS. 27 

two clusters of wooden houses, calling themselves 
towns, and borrowmg some pompous name, gene- 
rally from Greece or Rome, we might have thought 
ourselves the first of the human race who had ever 
penetrated into this territory of bears and alliga- 
tors. But still from time to time appeared the 
hut of the wood-cutter, who supplies the steam- 
boats with fuel, at the risk, or rather with the 
assurance of early death, in exchange for dollars 
and whiskey. These sad dwellings are nearly all 
of them inundated during the winter, and the best 
of them are constructed on piles, which permit the 
water to reach its highest level without drowning 
the wretched inhabitants. These unhappy beings 
are invariably the victims of ague, which they 
meet recklessly, sustained by the incessant use of 
ardent spirits. The squalid look of the miserable 
wives and children of these men was dreadful, 
and often as the spectacle was renewed I could 
never look at it with indifference. Their com- 
plexion is of a blueish white, that suggests the 
idea of dropsy; this is invariable, and the poor 
little ones wear exactly the same ghastly hue. A 
miserable cow and a few pigs standing knee-deep 
C 2 



28 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

in water, distinguish the more prosperous of these 
dwellings, and on the whole I should say that I 
never witnessed human nature reduced so low, as 
it appeared in the wood-cutters' huts on the 
unwholesome banks of the Mississippi. 

It is said that at some points of this dismal 
river, crocodiles are so abundant as to add the 
terror of their attacks to the other sufferings of a 
dwelling there. We were told a story of a squatter, 
who having " located " himself close to the river's 
edge, proceeded to build his cabin. This opera- 
tion is soon performed, for social feeling and the 
love of whiskey bring all the scanty neighbour- 
hood round a new comer, to aid him in cutting 
down trees, and in rolling up the logs, till the 
mansion is complete. This was done ; the wife 
and five young children were put in possession of 
their new home, and slept soundly after a long 
march. Towards day-break the husband and 
father was awakened by a faint cry, and looking 
up, beheld relics of three of his children scattered 
over the floor, and an enormous crocodile, with 
several young ones around her, occupied in de_ 
vouring the remnants of their horrid meal. He 



OF THE AMERICANS. 29 

looked round for a weapon, but finding none, and 
aware that unarmed he could do nothing, he 
raised himself gently on his bed, and contrived to 
crawl from thence through a window, hoping that 
his wife, whom he left sleeping, might with the 
remaining children rest undiscovered till his return. 
He flew to his nearest neighbour and besought his 
aid ; in less than half an hour two men returned 
with him, all three well armed ; but alas ! they 
were too late ! the wife and her two babes lay 
mangled on their bloody bed. The gorged rep- 
tiles fell an easy prey to their assailants, who, 
upon examining the place, found the hut had been 
constructed close to the mouth of a large hole, 
almost a cavern, where the monster had hatched 
her hateful brood. 

Among other sights of desolation which mark 
this region, condemned of nature, the lurid glare 
of a burning forest was almost constantly visible 
after sun-set, and when the wind so willed, the 
smoke arising from it floated in heavy vapour 
over our heads. Not all the novelty of the scene, 
not all its vastness, could prevent its heavy 
hon-or wearying the spirits. Perhaps the dinners 
c 3 



30 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

and suppers I have described may help to account 
for this; but certain it is, that when we had 
w^ondered for a week at the ceaseless continuity of 
forest ; had first admired, and then wearied of the 
festooned drapery of Spanish moss ; when we had 
learned to distinguish the different masses of 
timber that passed us, or that we passed, as a 
" snag," a "log," or a "sawyer;" when we had 
finally made up our minds that tlie gentlemen of 
the Kentucky and Ohio military establishments, 
were not of the same genus as those of the 
Tuilleries and St. James's, we began to wish that 
we could sleep more hours away. As we ad- 
vanced to the northward w^e w^ere no longer 
cheered by the beautiful border of palmettos ; and 
even the amusement of occasionally spying out 
a sleeping crocodile was over. 

Just in this state, when we w^ould have fain 
believed that every mile w^e went, canied us two 
towards Memphis, a sudden and violent shock 
startled us frightfully. 

" It is a sawyer [" said one. 

" It is a snag !" cried another. 

" We are aground !" exclaimed the captain. 



OF THE AMERICi^NS. 31 

" Aground ? Good heavens ! and how long 
shall we stay here ?" 

" The Lord in his providence can only tell, but 
long enough to tire my patience, I expect." 

And the poor English ladies, how fared they 
the while ? 

Two breakfasts, two dinners, and a supper did 
they eat, with the Ohio and Kentucky gentlemen, 
before they moved an inch. Several steam-boats 
passed while we were thus enthralled ; but some 
were not strong enough to attempt drawing us off, 
and some attempted it, but were not strong enough 
to succeed ; at length a vast and mighty '* thing 
of life " approached, threw out grappling irons ; 
and in three minutes the business was done ; again 
we saw the trees and mud slide swiftly past us ; 
and a hearty shout from every passenger on deck 
declared theu* joy. 

At length we had the pleasure of being told that 
we had arrived at Memphis ; but this pleasure 
was considerably abated by the hour of our anival, 
which was mid-night, and by the rain, which was 
falling in torrents. 

Memphis stands on a high bluff, and at the 
C 4 



32 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

time of our arrival was nearly inaccessible. The 
heavy rain which had been falling for many hours 
would have made any steep ascent difficult, but un- 
fortunately a new road had been recently marked 
out, which beguiled us into its almost bottomless 
mud, from the firmer footing of the unbroken cliff. 
Shoes and gloves were lost in the mire, for we 
were glad to avail ourselves of all our limbs, and 
we reached the grand hotel in a most deplorable 
state. 

Miss Wright was well known there, and as soon 
as her arrival was announced, every one seemed 
on the alert to receive her, and we soon found our- 
selves in possession of the best rooms in the hotel. 
The house was new, and in what appeared to me 
a very comfortless condition, but I was then new 
to Western America, and unaccustomed to their 
mode of " getting along," as they term it. This 
phrase is eternally in use among them, and seems 
to mean existing with as few of the comforts of 
life as possible. 

We slept soundly however, and rose in the hope 
of soon changing our mortar-smclling-quarters for 
Miss Wright's Nashoba. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 33 

But we presently found that the rain which had 
fallen during the night would make it hazardous 
to venture through the forests of Tennessee in any 
sort of carriage ; we therefore had to pass the day 
at our queer comfortless hotel. The steam-boat 
had wearied me of social meals, and I should have 
been thankful to have eaten our dinner of hard 
venison and peach-sauce in a private room ; but 
this, Miss Wright said was impossible ; the lady 
of the house would consider the proposal as a 
personal affront, and, moreover, it would be as- 
suredly refused. This latter argument earned 
weight with it, and when the great bell was 
sounded from an upper window of the house, we 
proceeded to the dining-room. The table was laid 
for fifty persons, and was already nearly full. 
Our party had the honour of sitting near " the 
lady," but to check the proud feelings to which 
such distinction might give birth, my servant, 
William, sat very nearly opposite to me. The 
company consisted of all the shop-keepers (store- 
keepers as they are called throughout the United 
States) of the little town. The mayor also, who 
was a friend of Miss Wright's, was of the party; 
C 5 



34 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

he is a pleasing gentlemanlike man, and seems 
strangely misplaced in a little to\ni on the 
Mississippi. We were told that since the erection 
of this hotel, it has been the custom for all the 
male inhabitants of the town to dine and breakfast 
there. They ate in perfect silence, and with such 
astonishing rapidity that their dinner was over 
literally before our's was began ; the instant they 
ceased to eat, they darted from the table in the 
same moody silence which they had preserved 
since they entered the room, and a second set 
took their places, who performed their silent parts 
in the same manner. The only sounds heard 
were those produced by the knives and forks, with 
the unceasing chorus of coughing, &c. No women 
were present except ourselves and the hostess ; 
the good women of Memphis being well content 
to let their lords partake of Mrs. Anderson's 
turkeys and venison, (without their having the 
trouble of cooking for them), whilst they regale 
themselves on mash and milk at home. 

The remainder of the day passed pleasantly 
enough in rambling round the little town, which 
is situated at the most beautiful point of the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 35 

Mississippi ; the river is here so wide as to give it 
the appearance of a noble lake ; an island, covered 
with lofty forest trees divides it, and relieves by 
its broad mass of shadow the uniformity of its 
waters. The town stretches in a rambling in-e- 
gular manner along the cliff, from the Wolf River, 
one of the innumerable tributaries to the Missis- 
sippi, to about a mile below it. Half a mile more 
of the cliff beyond the town is cleared of trees, 
and produces good pasture for horses, cows, and 
pigs ; sheep they had none. At either end of this 
space the forest again rears its dark wall, and 
seems to say to man, " so far shalt thou come, 
and no farther !" Courage and industry, however, 
have braved the warning. Behind this long street 
the town straggles back into the forest, and the 
rude path that leads to the more distant log 
dwellings becomes wilder at every step. The 
ground is broken by frequent water-courses, and 
the bridges that lead across them are formed by 
trunks of trees thrown over the stream, which sup " 
port others of smaller growth, that are laid across 
them. These bridges are not very pleasant to 
pass, for they totter under the tread of a man, and 
C6 



36 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

tremble most frightfully beneath a horse or a 
waggon ; they are, however, very picturesque. 
The gi'eat height of the trees, the quantity of 
pendant vine branches that hang amongst them ; 
and the variety of gay plumaged birds, particularly 
the small green parrot, made us feel we were in a 
new world ; and a repetition of our walk the next 
morning would have pleased us well, but Miss 
Wright was anxious to get home, and we were 
scarcely less so to see her Nashoba. A clumsy 
sort of caravan drawn by two horses was prepared 
for us ; and we set off in high spirits for an expe- 
dition of fifteen miles through the forest. To avoid 
passing one of the bridges above described, which 
was thought insecure, our negro driver took us 
through a piece of water, which he assured us 
was not deep " to matter," however we soon lost 
sight of our pole, and as we were evidently de- 
scending, we gently remonstrated with him on the 
danger of proceeding, but he only grinned, and 
Hogged in reply ; we soon saw the front wheels 
disappear, and the horses began to plunge and 
kick most alarmingly, but still without his looking 
at all disturbed. At length the splinter-bar gave 



OF THE AMERICANS. 37 

way, upon which the black philosopher said very 
composedly, " I expect you'll best be ridiug out 
upon the horses, as we've got into an unhandsome 
fix here." Miss Wright, who sat composedly 
smiling at the scene, said, " Yes, Jacob, that is 
what we must do ;" and with some difficulty we, 
in this manner, reached the shore, and soon found 
ourselves again assembled round Mrs. Anderson's 
fire. 

It was soon settled that we must delay om* de- 
parture till the waters had subsided, but Miss 
AVright was too anxious to reach home to endure 
this delay, and she set off again on horseback, 
accompanied by our man servant, who told me 
afterwards that they rode through places that 
might have daunted the boldest hunter, but that 
" Miss Wright took it quite easy." 

The next day we started again, and the clear 
air, the bright sun, the novel wildness of the dark 
forest, and our keenly awakened curiosity, made 
the excursion delightful, and enabled us to bear 
without shrinking the bumps and bruises we 
encountered. We soon lost all trace of a road, 
at least so it appeared to us, for the stumps of the 



38 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

trees, which had been cut away to open a passage, 
were left standing three feet high. Over these, 
the high-hung Deerborn, as our carriage was 
called, passed safely ; but it required some miles 
of experience to convince us that every stump 
would not be our last ; it was amusing to watch 
the cool and easy skill with which the driver 
wound his horses and wheels among these stumps. 
I thought he might have been imported to Bond- 
street with great advantage. The forest became 
thicker and more dreary-looking every mile we 
advanced, but our ever-grinning negro declared it 
was a right good road, and that we should be sure 
to get to Nashoba. 

And so we did and 

one glance sufficed to convince me that every idea 
I had formed of the place was as far as possible 
from the truth. Desolation was the only feeling 
— the only word that presented itself; but it was 
not spoken. I think, however, that Miss Wright 
was aware of the painful impression the sight of 
her forest home produced on me, and I doubt not 
that the conviction reached us both at the same 
moment, that we had erred in thinking that a few 




>fJs^Tt^^ ^^^^^^&i'S^^^^,^ 



:.,St-\ •n-f^^.it.im. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 39 

months passed together at this spot could be pro- 
ductive of pleasure to either. But to do her 
justice, I believe her mind was so exclusively 
occupied by the object she had then in view, that 
all things else were worthless, or indifferent to 
her. I never heard or read of any enthusiasm 
approaching her's, except in some few instances, 
in ages past, of religious fanaticism. 

It must have been some feeling equally powerful 
which enabled Miss Wright, accustomed to all the 
comfort and refinement of Europe, to imagine not 
only that she herself could exist in this wilderness, 
but that her European friends could enter there, 
and not feel dismayed at the savage aspect of the 
scene. The annexed plate gives a faithful view of 
the cleared space and buildings which form the 
settlement. Each building consisted of two large 
rooms furnished in the most simple manner ; nor 
had they as yet collected round them any of those 
minor comforts which ordinary minds class among 
the necessaries of life. But in this our philoso- 
phical friend seemed to see no evil ; nor was 
there any mixture of affectation in this indiffer- 
ence ; it was a circumstance really and truly 



40 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

beneath her notice. Her whole heart and soul 
were occupied by the hope of raising the African 
to the level of European intellect ; and even now, 
that I have seen this favourite fabric of her imagi- 
nation fall to pieces beneath her feet, I cannot 
recall the self-devotion with which she gave herself 
to it, without admiration. 

The only white persons we found at Nashoba 
were my amiable friend, Mrs. W****, the sister of 
Miss Wright, and her husband. I think they had 
between thirty and forty slaves, including children, 
but when I was there no school had been esta- 
blished. Books and other materials for the great 
experiment had been collected, and one or two 
professors engaged, but nothing was yet organized. 
I found my friend Mrs. W**** in very bad health, 
which she confessed she attributed to the climate. 
This naturally so much alarmed me for my chil- 
dren, that I decided upon leaving the place with 
as little delay as possible, and did so at the end 
of ten days. 

I do not exactly know wdiat was the immediate 
cause which induced Miss Wright to abandon a 
scheme which had taken such possession of her 



OF THE AMERICANS. 41 

imagination, and on which she had expended so 
much money ; but many months had not elapsed 
before T learnt, with much pleasure, that she Imd 
her sister had also left it. 1 think it probable 
that she became aware upon returning to Nashoba, 
that the climate was too hostile to their health. 
All I know fai'ther of Nashoba is, that Miss Wright 
having found (from some cause or other) that it 
was impossible to pursue her object, herself ac- 
companied her slaves to Hayti, and left them 
there, free, and under the protection of the Pre- 
sident. 

I found no beauty in the scenery round 
Nashoba, nor can I conceive that it would possess 
any even in summer. The trees were so close to 
each other as not to pennit the growth of under- 
wood, the great ornament of the forest at New 
Orleans, and still less of our seeing any openings, 
where the varying effects of light and shade might 
atone for the absence of other objects. The 
clearing round the settlement appeared to me 
inconsiderable and imperfect ; but I was told that 
they had grown good crops of cotton and Indian 
corn. The weather was dry and agreeable, and 



42 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

the aspect of the heavens by night surprismgly 
beautifuL I never saw moonlight so clear, so 
pure, so powerful. 

We returned to Memphis on the 26th of January, 
1828, and found ourselves obliged to pass five days 
there, awaiting a steam-boat for Cincinnati, to 
which metropolis of the west, I was now deter- 
mined to proceed with my family to await the 
arrival of Mr. Trollope. We were told by every 
one we spoke to at Memphis, that it was in all 
respects the finest situation west of the Allegha- 
nies. We found many lovely walks among the 
broken forest glades around Memphis, which, 
together with a morning and evening enjoyment 
of the effects of a glowing horizon on the river, 
enabled us to wait patiently for the boat that was 
to bear us away. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 43 



CHAPTER IV. 



Departure from Memphis — Ohio River — Louis- 
ville — Cincinnati. 



On the 1st of Februaiy, 1828, we embarked on 
board the Criterion, and once more began to float 
on the " father of waters," as the poor banished 
Indians were wont to call the Mississippi. The 
company on board was wonderfully like what we 
had met in coming from New Orleans; I think 
they must ha^e all been first cousins ; and what 
was singular, they too had all arrived at high rank 
in the army. For many a wearisome mile above 
the Wolf River the only scenery w^as still forest — 
forest — forest ; the only variety was produced by 
the receding of the river at some points, and its 
encroaching on the opposite shore. These changes 
are continually going on, but from what cause 
none could satisfactorily explain to me. Where 
the river is encroaching, the trees are seen growing 



44 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

in water many feet deep ; after some time, the 
water undermines their roots, and they become 
the easy victims of the first hurricane that blows. 
This is one source of the immense quantities of 
drift wood that float into the gulf of Mexico. 
Where the river has receded, a young growth of 
cane-brake is soon seen starting up with the rapid 
vegetation of the climate ; these two circum- 
stances in some degi'ee relieve the sameness of 
the thousand miles of vegetable wall. But we 
were now approaching the river which is em- 
phatically called "the beautiful," La Belle Riviere 
of the New Orleans French ; and a few days took 
us, I trust for ever, out of that murky stream which 
is as emphatically called " the deadly ;" and well 
does it seem to merit the title ; the air of its 
shores is mephitic, and it is said that nothing 
that ever sunk beneath its muddy surface was 
known to rise again. As truly does " La Belle 
Riviere '' deserve its name ; the Ohio is bright 
and clear ; its banks are continually varied, as it 
flows through what is called a rolling country, 
which seems to mean a district that cannot shew a 
dozen paces of level ground at a time. The prim- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 45 

oEval forest still occupies a considerable portion 
of the ground, and hangs in solemn grandeur from 
the cliffs ; but it is broken by frequent settlements, 
where we were cheered by the sight of herds and 
flocks. I imagine that this river presents almost 
every variety of river scenery ; sometimes its clear 
wave waters a meadow of level turf; sometimes it 
is bounded by perpendicular rocks ; pretty dwell- 
ings, with their gay porticos are seen, alternately 
with wild intervals of forest, where the tangled 
bear-brake plainly enough indicates what inha- 
bitants are native there. Often a mountain torrent 
comes pouring its silver tribute to the stream, and 
were there occasionally a ruined abbey, or feudal 
castle, to mix the romance of real life with that of 
nature, the Ohio would be perfect. 

So powerful was the effect of this sweet scenery, 
that we ceased to grumble at our dinners and 
suppers ; nay, we almost learnt to rival our neigh- 
bours at table in their voracious rapidity of swal- 
lowing, so eager were we to place ourselves again 
on the guard, lest we might lose sight of the 
beauty that was passing away from us. 

Yet these fair shores are still unhealthy. More 



46 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

than once we landed, and conversed with the 
families of the wood-cutters, and scarcely was 
there one in which we did not hear of some 
member who had " lately died of the fever." — 
They are all subject to ague, and though their 
dwellings are infinitely better than those on the 
Mississippi, the inhabitants still look like a race 
that are selling their lives for gold. 

Louisville is a considerable town, prettily 
situated on the Kentucky, or south side of the 
Ohio ; w^e spent some hours in seeing all it had 
to shew ; and had I not been told that a bad fever 
often rages there during the warm season, I should 
have liked to pass some months there for the pur- 
pose of exploring the beautiful country in its 
vicinity. Frankfort and Lexington are both towns 
worth visiting, though from their being out of the 
way places, I never got to either. The first is 
the seat of the state government of Kentucky, and 
the last is, I was told, the residence of several 
independent families, who, with more leisure 
than is usually enjoyed in America, have its 
natural accompaniment, more refinement. 

The falls of the Ohio are about a mile below 



OF THE AMERICANS. 47 

Louisville, and produce a raj^id, too sudden for 
the boats to pass, except in the rainy season. 
The passengers are obliged to get out below them, 
and travel by land to Louisville, where they find 
other vessels ready to receive them for the remain- 
der of the voyage. We were spared this incon- 
venience by the water being too high for the rapid 
to be much felt, and it will soon be altogether 
removed by the Louisville canal coming into 
operation, which will permit the steam-boats to 
continue their progress from below the falls to 
the town. 

The scenery on the Kentucky side is much 
finer than on that of Indiana, or Ohio. The State 
of Kentucky was the darling spot of many tribes 
of Indians, and was reserved among them as a 
common hunting ground; it is said that they 
cannot yet name it without emotion, and that they 
have a sad and wild lament that they still chaunt 
to its memory. But their exclusion thence is of 
no recent date ; Kentucky has been longer settled 
than the Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio, and it appears 
not only more highly cultivated, but more fertile 
and more picturesque than either. I have rarely 
13 



48 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

seen richer pastures than those of Kentucky. The 
forest trees, where not too crowded, are of magnifi 
cent growth, and the crops are gloriously abundant 
where the thriftless husbandry has not worn out 
the soil by an unvarying succession of exhausting 
crops. We were shewn ground which had borae 
abundant crops of wheat for twenty successive 
years ; but a much shorter period suffices to ex- 
haust the ground, if it were made to produce 
tobacco without the intermission of some other 
crop. 

We reached Cincinnati on the 10th of February. 
It is finely situated on the south side of a hill 
that rises gently from the water's edge ; yet it is by 
no means a city of striking appearance ; it wants 
domes, towers, and steeples ; but its landing-place 
is noble, extending for more than a quarter of a 
mile ; it is well paved, and surrounded by neat, 
though not handsome buildings. I have seen 
fifteen steam-boats lying there at once, and still 
half the wharf was unoccupied. 

On arriving we repaired to the Washington 
Hotel, and thought ourselves fortunate when we 
were told that we were just in time for dinner at the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 49 

table d'hote ; but when the dining-room door 
was opened, we retreated with a feeling of dismay 
at seeing between sixty and seventy men already 
at table. We took our dinner with the females of 
the family, and then went forth to seek a house 
for om' permanent accommodation. 

We went to the office of an advertising agent, 
who professed to keep a register of all such in- 
formation, and described the dwelling we w^anted. 
He made no difficulty, but told us his boy should 
be our guide through the city, and shew us what 
we sought ; we accordingly set out with him, 
and he led us up one street, and down another, 
but evidently without any determinate object; 
I therefore stopped, and asked him where- 
about the houses were which we were going 
to see. 

" I am looking for bills," was his reply. 

I thought we could have looked for bills as well 
without him, and I told him so ; upon which he 
assumed an air of great activity, and began knock- 
ing regularly at every door we passed, enquiring 
if the house was to be let. It was impossible to 
endure this long, and our guide was dismissed, 

VOL. I. D 



50 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

though I was afterwards obliged to pay him a dollar 
for his services. 

We had the good fortune, however, to find a 
dwelling before long, and we retunied to our hotel, 
having determined upon taking possession of it as 
soon as it could be got ready. Not wishing to 
take our evening meal either with the three score 
and ten gentlemen of the dining-room, nor yet 
with the half dozen ladies of the bar-room, I 
ordered tea in my own chamber. A good-hu- 
moured Irish woman came forward with a sort of 
patronising manner, took my hand, and said, 
" Och, my honey, ye'll be from the old country. 
I'll see you will have your tay all to yourselves, 
honey." With this assurance we retired to my 
room, which was a handsome one as to its size 
and bed furniture, but it had no carpet, and was 
darkened by blinds of paper, such as rooms are 
hung with, which required to be rolled up, and 
then fastened with strings very awkwardly attached 
to the window-frames, whenever light or air were 
wished for. I afterwards met with these same 
uncomfortable blinds in every part of America. 

Our Irish friend soon reappeared, and brought 



OF THE AMERICANS. 51 

US tea, together with the never-failmg accompa- 
niments of American tea-drinking, hung beef, 
" chipped up" raw, and sundry sweetmeats of 
brown sugar hue and flavour. We took our tea, 
and were enjoying our family talk, relative to our 
future aiTangements, when a loud sharp knocking 
was heard at our door. My " come in," was 
answered by the appearance of a portly personage, 
who proclaimed hifnself our landlord. 

" Are any of you ill?" he began. 

" No thank you, sir ; we are all quite well," was 
my reply. 

" Then, madam, I must tell you, that I cannot 
accommodate you on these terms ; we have no 
family tea-drinkings here, and you must live 
either with me or my wife, or not at all in my 
house." 

This was said with an air of authority that 
almost precluded reply, but I ventured a sort of 
apologistic hint, that we were strangers and un- 
accustomed to the manners of the country. 

" Our manners are very good manners, and we 
don't wish any changes from England." 

I thought of mine host of the Washington after- 
d2 



5-2 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

wards, when reading Scott's " Anne of Geierstein ;" 
he, in truth, strongly resembled the inn-keeper 
therein immortalized, who made his guests eat, 
drink, and sleep, just where, when, and how he 
pleased. I made no farther remonstrance, but 
determined to hasten my removal. This we 
achieved the next day to our great satisfaction. 

We w^ere soon settled in our new dwelling, 
which looked neat and comfortable enough, but we 
speedily found that it was devoid of nearly all the 
accommodation that Europeans conceive necessary 
to decency and comfort. No pump, no cistern, 
no drain of any kind, no dustman's cart, or any 
other visible means of getting rid of the rubbish, 
which vanishes with such celerity in London, that 
one has no time to think of its existence ; but 
Avhich accumulated so rapidly at Cincinnati, that 
I sent for my landlord to know in what manner 
refuse of all kinds was to be disposed of. 

" Your Help will just have to fix them all into 
the middle of the street, but you must mind, old 
woman, that it is the middle. I expect you don't 
know as we have got a law what forbids throwing 
such things at the sides of the streets; they must 



OF TITE AMERICANS. 53 

just all be cast right into the middle, and the pigs 
soon takes them off." 

In truth the pigs are constantly seen doing Her- 
culean service in this way through every quarter 
of the city ; and though it is not very agreeable to 
live surrounded by herds of these unsavoury ani- 
mals, it is well they are so numerous, and so 
active in their capacity of scavengers, for without 
them the streets would soon be choked up with 
all sorts of substances in every stage of decom- 
position. 

We had heard so much of Cincinnati, its beauty, 
wealth, and unequalled prosperity, that when we 
left Memphis to go thither, we almost felt the 
delight of Rousseau's novice, " un voyage a faire, 
et Paris au bout !" — As soon, therefore, as our 
little domestic arrangements were completed, we 
set forth to view this '' wonder of the west," this 
" prophet's gourd of magic growth," — this " infant 
Hercules ;" and surely no travellers ever paraded 
a city under circumstances more favourable to 
their finding it fair to the sight. Three dreary 
months had elapsed since we had left the glories 
of London behind us ; for nearly the whole of that 
D 3 



54 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

time we had beheld no other architecture than 
what om* ship and steam-boats had furnished, and 
excepting at New Orleans, had seen hardly a 
trace of human habitations. The sight of bricks 
and mortar was really refreshing, and a house of 
three stories looked splendid. Of this splendour 
we saw repeated specimens, and moreover a brick 
church, which, from its two little peaked spires, is 
called the two-horned church. But, alas ! the 
flatness of reality after the imagination has been 
busy ! I hardly know what I expected to find in 
this city, fresh risen from the bosom of the wilder- 
ness, but certainly it was not a little town, about 
the size of Salisbury, without even an attempt at 
beauty in any of its edifices, and with only just 
enough of the air of a city to make it noisy and 
bustling. The population is greater than the ap- 
pearance of the town would lead one to expect. 
This is partly owing to the number of free Negroes 
who herd together in an obscure part of the city, 
called little Africa; and partly to the density of 
the population round the paper-mills and other 
manufactories. I believe the number of inhabit- 
ants exceeds twenty thousand. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 55 

We arris^ed in Cincinnati in February, 1828, 
and I speak of the town as it was then; several 
small churches have been built since, whose 
towers agreeably relieve its uninteresting mass of 
buildings. At that time I think Main-street, which 
is the principal avenue, (and runs through the 
whole town, answering to the High-street of our 
old cities), was the only one entirely paved. The 
iroHtoir is of brick, tolerably well laid, but it is 
inundated by every shower, as Cincinnati has no 
drains whatever. What makes this omission the 
more remarkable is, that the situation of the place 
is calculated both to facilitate their construction 
and to render them necessary. Cincinnati is built 
on the side of a hill that begins to rise at the 
river's edge, and were it furnished with drains of 
the simplest arrangement, the heavy showers of the 
climate would keep them constantly clean ; as it 
is, these showers wash the higher streets, only to 
deposit their filth in the first level spot ; and this 
happens to be in the street second in importance 
to Main- street, running at right angles to it, and 
containing most of the large warehouses of the 
town. This deposit is a dreadful nuisance, and 
D 4 



56 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

must be productive of miasma during the hot 
weather. 

The town is built, as I believe most American 
towns are, in squares, as they call them ; but these 
squares are the reverse of our's, being solid instead 
of hollow. Each consists, or is intended to con- 
sist, when the plan of the city is completed, of a 
block of buildings fronting north, east, west, and 
south ; each house communicating with an alley, 
furnishing a back entrance. This plan would not 
be a bad one were the town properly drained, but 
as it is, these alleys are horrible abominations, 
and must, I conceive, become worse with every 
passing year. 

To the north, Cincinnati is bounded by a range 
of forest-covered hills, sufficiently steep and rugged 
to prevent their being built upon, or easily culti- 
vated, but not sufficiently high to command from 
their summits a view of any considerable extent. 
Deep and narrow water-courses, dry in summer, 
but bringing down heavy streams in winter, divide 
these hills into many separate heights, and this 
furnishes the only variety the landscape offers for 
many miles round the town. The lovely Ohio is 



OF THE AMEKICANS. 57 

a beautiful featui'e wherever it is visible, but the 
only part of the city that has the advantage of its 
beauty is the street nearest to its bank. The 
hills of Kentucky, which rise at about the same 
distance from the river, on the opposite side, form 
the southern boundary to the basin in which Cin- 
cinnati is built. 

On first arriving, I thought the many tree- 
covered hills around, very beautiful, but long before 
my departure, I felt so weary of the confined view, 
that Salisbury Plain would have been an agi'eeable 
variety. I doubt if any inhabitant of Cincinnati 
ever mounted these hills so often as myself and my 
children ; but it was rather for the enjoyment of a 
freer air than for any beauty of prospect, that we 
took our daily climb. These hills afford neither 
shrubs nor flowers, but furnish the finest speci- 
mens of millepore in the world ; and the water- 
courses are full of fossil productions. 

The forest trees are neither large nor well 
grown, and so close as to be nearly knotted toge- 
ther at top; even the wild vine here loses its 
beauty, for its graceful festoons bear leaves only 
when they reach the higher branches of the 
D 5 



58 DOMESTIC M.ANXERS 

tree that sii]jports tliem, both air and light being 
too scantily found below to admit of their doing 
more than climbing with a bare stem till they 
reach a better atmosphere. The herb we call 
pennyroyal was the only one I found in abund- 
ance, and that only on the brows, where the 
ground had been partially cleared ; vegetation is 
impossible elsewhere, and it is this circumstance 
which makes the " eternal forests" of iimerica so 
detestable. Near New Orleans the undergrowth 
of palmetto and pawpaw is highly beautiful, but 
in Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio, I never found 
the slightest beauty in the forest scenery. Fallen 
trees in every possible stage of decay, and con- 
geries of leaves that have been rotting since the 
flood, cover the ground and infect the air. The 
beautiful variety of foliage afforded by evergreens 
never occurs, and in Tennessee, and that part of 
Ohio that surrounds Cincinnati, even the sterile 
beauty of rocks is wanting. On crossing the water 
to Kentucky the scene is greatly improved ; beech 
and chesnut, of magnificent growth, border the 
beautiful river ; the ground has been well cleared, 
and the herbage is excellent ; the pawpaw grows 



OF THE AMERICANS. 59 

abundantly, and is a splendid shrub, though it 
bears neither fruit nor flowers so far north. The 
noble tulip tree flourishes here, and blooms pro- 
fusely. 

The river Licking flows into the Ohio nearly 
opposite Cincinnati ; it is a pretty winding stream, 
and two or three miles from its mouth has a brisk 
rapid, dancing among white stones, which, in the 
absence of better rocks, we found very picturesque. 



D 6 



60 DOMESTIC MANNERS 



CHAPTER V. 

Cincinnati — Forest Farm — Mr. Bullock, 

Though T do not quite sympathise with those 
who consider Cincinnati as one of the wonders of 
the earth, I certainly think it a city of extraor- 
dinary size and importance, when it is remembered 
that thirty years ago the aboriginal forest occupied 
the ground where it stands ; and every month 
appears to extend its limits and its wealth. 

Some of the native political economists assert 
that this rapid conversion of a bear-brake into a 
prosperous city, is the result of free political insti- 
tutions ; not being very deep in such matters, a 
more obvious cause suggested itself to me, in the 
unceasing goad which necessity applies to in- 
dustry in this country, and in the absence of all 
resource for the idle. During nearly two years 
that I resided in Cincinnati, or its neighbourhood, 
I neither saw a beggar, nor a man of sufficient 



OF THE AMERICANS. 61 

fortune to permit his ceasing his efforts to increase 
it ; thus every bee in the hive is actively employed 
in search of that honey of Hybla, vulgarly called 
money ; neither art, science, learning, nor plea- 
sure can seduce them from its pursuit. This 
unity of purpose, backed by the spirit of enterprise, 
and joined with an acuteness and total absence of 
probity, where interest is concerned, which might 
set canny Yorkshire at defiance, may well go 
far towards obtaining its purpose. 

The low rate of taxation, too, unquestionably 
permits a more rapid accumulation of individual 
wealth than with us ; but till I had travelled 
through America, I had no idea how much of the 
money collected in taxes returns among the people, 
not only in the purchase of what their industry 
furnishes, but in the actual enjoyment of what is 
furnished. Were I an English legislator, instead 
of sending sedition to the Tower, I would send her 
to make a tour of the United States. I had a 
little leaning towards sedition myself when I set 
out, but before I had half completed my tour I 
was quite cured. 

I have read much of the " iew and simple wants 



62 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

of rational man," and 1 used to give a sort of 
dreamy acquiescence to the reasoning that went to 
prove each added want an added woe. Those 
who reason in a comfortable London drawing- 
room know little about the matter. Were the 
aliments which sustain life all that we wanted, the 
faculties of the hog might suffice us ; but if we 
analyze an hour of enjoyment, we shall find that it 
is made up of agreeable sensations occasioned by a 
thousand delicate impressions on almost as many 
nerves; w'here these nerves are sluggish from 
never having been awakened, external objects are 
less important, for they are less perceived ; but 
where the whole machine of the human frame is 
in full activity, where every sense brings home to 
consciousness its touch of pleasure or of pain, 
then every object that meets the senses is important 
as a vehicle of happiness or misery. But let no 
frames so tempered visit the United States, or if 
they do, let it be with no longer pausing than will 
store the memory with images, which, by the force 
of contrast, shall sweeten the future. 

" Guarda e passa (e poi) ragiam di lor." 

The " simple '' manner of living in Western 



OF THE AMEKICANS. 63 

America was more distasteful to me from its 
levelling effects on the manners of the people, 
than from the personal privations that it rendered 
necessary ; and yet, till I was without them, I 
was in no degree aware of the many pleasurable 
sensations derived from the little elegancies and 
refinements enjoyed by the middle classes in 
Europe. There were many circumstances, too 
trifling even for my gossiping pages, which 
pressed themselves daily and hourly upon us, and 
which forced us to remember painfully that we 
were not at home. It requires an abler pen 
than mine to trace the connection which I am 
persuaded exists between these deficiencies and 
the minds and manners of the people. All animal 
wants are supplied profusely at Cincinnati, and at 
a very easy rate ; but, alas ! these go but a little 
way in the history of a day's enjoyment. The 
total and universal want of manners, both in males 
and females, is so remarkable, that I was con- 
stantly endeavouring to account for it. It cer- 
tainly does not proceed from want of intellect. I 
have listened to much dull and heavy conversation 
in America, but rarely to any that I could strictly 

13 



64 DOMESTIC MANNEKS 

call silly, (if I except the every where privileged 
class of very young ladies). They appear to me 
to have clear heads and active intellects ; are more 
ignorant on subjects that are only of conventional 
value, than on such as are of intrinsic importance ; 
but there is no charm, no grace in their conversa- 
tion. I very seldom during my whole stay in 
the country heard a sentence elegantly turned, 
and correctly pronounced from the lips of an 
American. There is always something either in 
the expression or the accent that jars the feelings 
and shocks the taste. 

I will not pretend to decide whether man is 
better or worse off for requiring refinement in the 
manners and customs of the society that surrounds 
him, and for being incapable of enjoyment without 
them; but in America that polish which removes 
the coarser and rougher parts of our nature is un- 
known and undreamed of. There is much sub- 
stantial comfort, and some display in the larger 
cities ; in many of the more obvious features they 
are as Paris or as London, being all large assem- 
blies of active and intelligent human beings — but 
yet they are wonderfully unlike in nearly all their 



OF THE AMERICANS. 65 

moral features. Now God forbid that any reason- 
able American, (of whom there are so many mil- 
lions), should ever come to ask me what I mean ; 
I should find it very difficult, nay, perhaps, utterly 
impossible, to explain myself; but, on the other 
hand, no European who has visited the Union, 
will find the least difficulty in understanding me. 
I am in no way competent to judge of the political 
institutions of America; and if I should occasionally 
make an observation on their effects, as they meet 
my superficial glance, they will be made in the 
spirit, and with the feeling of a woman, who is 
apt to tell what her first impressions may be, but 
unapt to reason back from effects to their causes. 
Such observations, if they be unworthy of much 
attention, are also obnoxious to little reproof: but 
there are points of national peculiarity of which 
w^omen may judge as ably as men, — all that con- 
stitutes the external of society may be fairly 
trusted to us. 

Captain Hall, when asked what appeared to 
him to constitute the greatest difference between 
England and America, replied, like a gallant 
sailor, "the want of loyalty." Were the same 



G6 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

question put to me, I should answer, " the want 
of refinement." 

Were Americans, indeed, disposed to assume 
the plain unpretending deportment of the Switzer 
in the days of his picturesque simplicity, (when, 
however, he never chew^ed tobacco), it would be in 
bad taste to censure him ; but this is not the case. 
Jonathan will be a fine gentleman, but it must be 
in his own way. Is he not a free-born American ? 
Jonathan, however, must remember, that if he 
will challenge competition with the old world, the 
old world will now and then look out to see how 
he supports his pretensions. 

With their hours of business, Vvhether judicial 
or mercantile, civil or military, I have nothing to 
do ; I doubt not they are all spent wisely and pro- 
fitably ; but what are their hours of recreation ? 
Those hours that with us are passed in the enjoy- 
ment of all that art can win from nature ; when, 
if the elaborate repast be more deeply relished 
than sages might approve, it is redeemed from 
sensuality by the presence of elegance and beauty. 
What is the American pendant to this ? I will 
not draw any comparisons between a good dinner 



OF THE AMERICANS. 67 

party in the two countries ; I have heard American 
gentlemen say, that they could perceive no dif- 
ference between them ; but in speaking of general 
manners, I may observe, that it is rarely they dine 
in society, except in taverns and boarding-houses. 
Then they eat with the greatest possible rapidity, 
and in total silence ; I have heard it said by Ame- 
rican ladies, that the hours of greatest enjoyment 
to the gentlemen were those in which a glass of 
gin cock-tail, or egging, receives its highest relish 
from the absence of all restraint whatever; and 
when there were no ladies to trouble them. 

Notwithstanding all this, the country is a very 
fine country, well worth visiting for a thousand 
reasons ; nine hundred and ninety -nine of these 
are reasons founded on admiration and respect; 
the thousandth is, that we shall feel the more con- 
tented with our own. The more unlike a country 
through which we travel is to all we have left, the 
more we are likely to be amused ; every thing in 
Cincinnati had this newness, and I should have 
thought it a place delightful to visit, but to tarry 
there was not to feel at home. 

My home, however, for a time it was to be. 



bo DOMESTIC MANNERS 

We heard on every side, that of all the known 
places on " the globe called earth," Cincinnati was 
the most favourable for a young man to settle in ; 
and T only awaited the arrival of Mr. T. to fix our 
son there, intending to continue with him till he 
should feel himself sufficiently established. We 
accordingly determined upon making ourselves as 
comfortable as possible. I took a larger house, 
which, however, I did not obtain without consi- 
derable difficulty, as, notwithstanding fourteen 
hundred new dwellings had been erected the pre- 
ceding year, the demand for houses greatly ex- 
ceeded the supply. We became acquainted with 
several amiable people, and we beguiled the 
anxious interval that preceded Mr. T.'s joining 
us by frequent excursions in the neighbourhood, 
w^hich not only afforded us amusement, but gave 
us an opportunity of observing the mode of life of 
the country people. 

We visited one faiTO, which interested us parti- 
cularly from its wild and lonely situation, and 
from the entire dependence of the inhabitants 
upon their own resources. It was a partial clear- 
ing in the very heart of the forest. The house 



OF THE AMERICANS. 69 

was built on the side of a hill, so steep that a high 
ladder was necessary to enter the front door, while 
the back one opened against the hill side ; at the 
foot of this sudden eminence ran a clear stream, 
whose bed had been deepened into a little resevoir, 
just opposite the house. A noble field of Indian- 
corn stretched away into the forest on one side, 
and a few half-cleared acres, with a shed or two 
upon them, occupied the other, giving accommo- 
dation to cows, horses, pigs, and chickens innu- 
merable. Immediately before the house was a 
small potatoe garden, with a few peach and apple 
trees. The house was built of logs, and consisted 
of two rooms, besides a little shanty or lean-to, 
that was used as a kitchen. Both rooms were 
comfortably furnished with good beds, draw^ers, 
&c. The farmer's wife, and a young woman 
who looked like her sister, were spinning, and 
three little children were playing about. The 
woman told me that they spun and wove all the 
cotton and woollen garments of the family, and 
knit all the stockings ; her husband, though not a 
shoe-maker by trade, made all the shoes. She 
manufactured all the soap and candles they used, 



70 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

and prepared her sugar from the sugar-trees on 
their fann. All she wanted with money, she said, 
was to huy coffee, tea, and whiskey, and she could 
" get enough any day by sending a batch of butter 
and chicken to market." They used no wheat, 
nor sold any of their corn, which, though it ap- 
peared a very large quantity, was not more than 
they required to make their bread and cakes of 
various kinds, and to feed all their live stock 
during the winter. She did not look in health, 
and said they had all had ague in " the fall ;" but 
she seemed contented, and proud of her inde- 
pendence ; though it was in somewhat a mournful 
accent that she said, " 'Tis strange to us to see 
company : I expect the sun may rise and set a 
hundred times before I shall see another human 
that does not belong to the family." 

I have been minute in the description of this 
forest farm, as I think it the best specimen I saw 
of the back-wood's independence, of which so 
much is said in America. These people were 
indeed independent, Robinson Crusoe was hardly 
more so, and they eat and drink abundantly ; but 
yet it seemed to me that there was something 



OF THE AMERICANS. 71 

awful and almost unnatural in their loneliness. 
No village bell ever summoned them to prayer, 
where they might meet the friendly greeting of 
their fellow-men. When they die, no spot sacred 
by ancient reverence will receive their bones — 
Religion will not breathe her sweet and solemn 
farewell upon their grave ; the husband or the 
father will dig the pit that is to hold them, beneath 
the nearest tree ; he will himself deposit them 
within it, and the wind that whispers through the 
boughs will be their only requiem. But then they 
pay neither taxes nor tythes, are never expected 
to pull off a hat or to make a curtsy, and will live 
and die without hearing or uttering the dreadful 
words, " God save the king." 

^ ***** * 
About two miles below Cincinnati, on the Ken- 
tucky side of the river, Mr. Bullock, the well 
known proprietor of the Egyptian Hall, has bought 
a large estate, with a noble house upon it. He 
and his amiable wife were devoting themselves to 
the embellishment of the house and grounds ; and 
certainly there is more taste and art lavished on 
one of their beautiful saloons, than all Western 



72 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

America can shew elsewhere. It is impossible to 
help feeling that Mr. Bullock is rather out of is 
element in this remote spot, and the gems of art 
he has brought with him, shew as strangely there, 
as would a bower of roses in Siberia, or a Cin- 
cinnati fashionable at iVlmack's. The exquisite 
beauty of the spot, commanding one of the finest 
reaches of the Ohio, the extensive gardens, and 
the large and handsome mansion, have tempted 
Mr. Bullock to spend a large sum in the purchase 
of this place, and if any one who has passed his 
life in London could endure such a change, the 
active mind and sanguine spirit of Mr. Bullock 
might enable him to do it ; but his frank, and truly 
English hospitality, and his enlightened and en- 
quiring mind, seemed sadly wasted there. I have 
since heard with pleasure that Mr. Bullock has 
parted with this beautiful, but secluded mansion. 



OF THE AMEKICANS. 73 



CHAPTER VI. 

Servants — Society — Even ing Parties. 

The greatest difficulty in organising a family 
establishment in Ohio, is getting servants, or, as it 
is there called, " getting help," for it is more than 
petty treason to the Eepublic, to call a free citizen 
a servant. The whole class of yonng women, 
whose bread depends upon their labour, are taught 
to believe that the most abject poverty is preferable 
to domestic service. Hundreds of half-naked 
girls work in the paper-mills, or in any other 
manufactory, for less than half the wages they 
would receive in service ; but they think their 
equality is compromised by the latter, and no- 
thing but the wish to obtain some particular 
article of finery will ever induce them to submit 
to it. A kind friend, however, exerted herself 
so effectually for me, that a tall stately lass soon 
presented herself, saying, "I be come to help 
VOL. I. E 



74 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

you." The intelligence was very agreeable, and 
I welcomed her in the most gracious manner 
possible, and asked what I should give her by 
the year. 

" Oh Gimini !" exclaimed the damsel, with a 
loud laugh, " you be a downright Englisher, 
sure enough. I should like to see a young lady 
engage by the year in America ! I hope I shall 
get a husband before many months, or I expect I 
shall be an outright old maid, for I be most 
seventeen already ; besides, mayhap I may 
want to go to school. You must just give me a 
dollar and half a week, and mother's slave, Phillis, 
must come over once a week, I expect, from 
t'other side the water, to help me clean." 

I agreed to the bargain, of course, with all 
dutiful submission ; and seeing she was preparing 
to set to work in a yellow dress parseme with red 
roses, I gently hinted, that I thought it was a pity 
to spoil so fine a gown, and that she had better 
change it. 

" 'Tis just my best and my worst," she answered, 
" for I've got no other." 

And in truth I found that this young lady had 



OF THE AMERICANS. 75 

left the paternal mansion with no more clothes of 
any kind than what she had on. I immediately 
gave her money to purchase what was necessary for 
cleanliness and decency, and set to work with my 
daughters to make her a gown. She gTinned 
applause when our labour was completed, but 
never uttered the slightest expression of gratitude 
for that, or for any thing else we could do for her. 
She was constantly asking us to lend her different 
articles of dress, and when v/e declined it, she 
said, " Well, I never seed such grumpy folks as 
you be ; there is several young ladies of my ac- 
quaintance what goes to live out now and then 
with the old women about the town, and they and 
their gurls always lends them what they asks for ; 
I guess you Inglish thinks we should poison your 
things, just as bad as if we was Negurs.'' And 
here 1 beg to assure the reader, that whenever I 
give conversations they were not made a loisir, 
but were written down immediately after they 
occurred, with all the verbal fidelity my memory 
peiTuitted. 

This young lady left me at the end of two 
months, because I refused to lend her money 
E 2 



76 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

enough to buy a silk dress to go to a ball, saying, 
" Then 'tis not worth my while to stay any longer." 

I cannot imagine it possible that such a state 
of things can be desirable, or beneficial to any of 
the parties concerned. I might occupy a hundred 
pages on the subject, and yet fail to give an 
adequate idea of the sore, angry, ever wakeful 
pride that seemed to torment these poor wretches. 
In many of them it was so excessive, that all feel- 
ing of displeasure, or even of ridicule, was lost in 
pity. One of these was a pretty girl, whose na- 
tural disposition must have been gentle and kind ; 
but her good feelings were soured, and her gentle- 
ness turned to morbid sensitiveness, by having 
heard a thousand and a thousand times that she 
was as good as any other lady, that all men were 
equal, and women too, and that it was a sin and a 
shame for a free-born American to be treated like 
a servant. 

When she found she was to dine in the kitchen, 
she turned up her pretty lip, and said, " I guess 
that's 'cause you don't think I'm good enough to 
eat with you. You'll find that won't do here." I 
found afterwards that she rarely ate any dinner at 



OF THE AMERICANS. 77 

all, and generally passed the lime in tears. I did 
every thing in my power to conciliate and make 
her happy, but I am sure she hated me. I gave 
her very high wages, and she staid till she had 
obtained several expensive articles of dress, and 
then, un beau matin, she came to me full dressed, 
and said, ^^ I must go." *' When shall you re- 
turn, Charlotte V " I expect you 11 see no more 
of me." And so we parted. Her sister was also 
living with me, but her wardrobe was not yet com- 
pleted, and she remained some weeks longer, till 
it was. 

I fear it may be called bad taste to say so much 
concerning my domestics, but, nevertheless, the 
circumstances are so characteristic of America that 
I must recount another history relating to them. 
A few days after the departure of my ambitious 
belle, my cries for " Help" had been so effectual 
that another young lady presented herself, with the 
usual preface " I'm come to help you." T had 
been cautioned never to ask for a reference for 
character, as it would not only rob me of that help, 
but entirely prevent my ever getting another; so, 
five minutes after she entered she was installed, 
E 3 



78 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

bundle and all, as a member of the family. She 
was by no means handsome, bat there was an air 
of simple frankness in her manner that won us all. 
For my own part, I thought I had got a second 
Jeanie Deans ; for she recounted to me histories 
of her early youth, wherein her plain good sense 
and strong mind had enabled her to win her way 
through a host of cruel step-mothers, faithless 
lovers, and cheating brothers. Among other things, 
she told me, with the appearance of much emotion, 
that she had found, since she came to town, a cure 
for all her sorrows, " Thanks and praise for it, I 
have got religion !" and then she asked if I would 
spare her to go to Meeting every Tuesday and 
Thursday evening; " You shall not have to want 
me, Mrs. TroUope, for our minister knows that we 
have all our duties to perform to man, as well as 
to God, and he makes the Meeting late in the 
evening that they may not cross one another." 
Who could refuse ? Not I, and Nancy had leave 
to go to Meeting two evenings in the week, besides 
Sundays. 

One night, that the mosquitoes had found their 
way under my net, and prevented my sleeping, I 



OF THE AMERICANS. 79 

heard some one enter the house very late ; I got 
up, went to the top of the stairs, and, by the help 
of a bright moon, recognised Nancy's best bonnet. 
I called to her; "You are very late," said I, 
"what is the reason of it?" "Oh,Mrs.Trollope,"she 
replied, " I am late, indeed ! We have this night had 
seventeen souls added to our flock. May they live 
to bless this night ! But it has been a long sitting, 
and very warm ; I'll just take a drink of water, and 
get to bed ; you shan't find me later in the morning 
for it." Nor did I. She was an excellent servant, 
and performed more than was expected from her ; 
moreover, she always found time to read the Bible 
several times in the day, and I seldom saw her 
occupied about any thing without observing that 
she had placed it near her. 

At last she fell sick with the cholera, and her 
life was despaired of. I nursed her with gTeat 
care, and sat up the greatest part of two nights 
with her. She was often delirious, and all her 
wandering thoughts seemed to ramble to heaven. 
" I have been a sinner," she said, " but I am safe 
in the Lord Jesus." When she recovered, she 
asked me to let her go into the country for a few 
E 4 



80 D0:\1ESTIC MANNERS 

days, to change the ah', and begged me to lend 
her three dollars. 

While she was absent a lady called on me, and 
enqmred, with some agitation, if my servant, 
Nancy Fletcher, were at home. I replied that 
she was gone into the country. " Thank God," 
she exclaimed, " never let her enter your doors 
again, she is the most abandoned woman in the 
town : a gentleman who knows you, has been told 
that she lives with you, and that she boasts of 
having the power of entering your house at any 
hour of the night." She told me many other cir- 
cumstances, unnecessary to repeat, but all tending 
to prove that she was a very dangerous inmate. 

I expected her home the next evening, and I 
believe I passed the interval in meditating how to 
get rid of her without an eclair cissenient. At 
length she arrived, and all my study having failed 
to supply me with any other reason than the real 
one for dismissing her, I stated it at once. Not 
the slightest change passed over her countenance, 
but she looked steadily at me, and said, in a very 
civil tone, " T should like to know who told you." 
I replied that it could be of no advantage to her to 



OF THE AMERICANS. 81 

know, and that I wished her to go immediately. 
" I am ready to go," she said, in the same quiet 
tone, " but what will you do for your three dol- 
lars ?" " I must do without them, Nancy ; good 
morning to you." '' I must just put up my 
things," she said, and left the room. About half 
an hour afterwards, when we were all assembled 
at dinner, she entered with her usual civil com- 
posed air, " Well, I am come to wish you all good 
bye," and with a friendly good-humoured smile 
she left us. 

This adventure frightened me so heartily, that, 
notwithstanding I had the dread of cooking my 
own dinner before my eyes, I would not take any 
more young ladies into my family without receiv- 
ing some slight sketch of their former history. At 
length I met with a very worthy French woman, 
and soon after with a tidy English girl to assist 
her ; and I had the good fortune to keep them till 
a short time before my departm*e : so, happily, I 
have no more misfortunes of this nature to relate. 
Such being the difficulties respecting domestic 
arrangements, it is obvious, that the ladies who 
are brought up amongst them cannot have leisure 
E 5 



82 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

. i 

for any great developement of the mind : it is, in 
fact, out of the question ; and, remembering this, 
it is more surprising that some among them should 
be very pleasing, than that none should be highly 
instructed. 

Had I passed as many evenings in company in 
any other town that I ever visited as I did in 
Cincinnati, I should have been able to give some 
little account of the conversations I had listened to ; 
but, upon reading over my notes, and then taxing 
my memory to the utmost to supply the deficiency, 
I can scarcely find a trace of any thing that de- 
serves the name. Such as I have, shall be given 
in their place. But, whatever may be the talents 
of the persons who meet together in society, the 
very shape, form, and arrangement of the meeting 
is sufficient to paralyze conversation. The women 
invariably herd together at one part of the room, 
and the men at the other ; but, in justice to Cin- 
cinnati, I must acknowledge that this arrangement 
is by no means peculiar to that city, or to the 
western side of the Alleghanies. Sometimes a 
small attempt at music produces a partial re- 
union ; a few of the most daring youths, animated 



OF THE AMERICANS. 83 

by the consciousness of curled hair and smart 
waistcoats, approach the piano-forte, and begin to 
mutter a little to the half-grown pretty things, who 
are comparing with one another " how many 
quarters' music they have had." Where the man- 
sion is of sufficient dignity to have two drawing- 
rooms, the piano, the little ladies, and the slender 
gentlemen are left to themselves, and on such 
occasions the sound of laughter is often heard to 
issue from among them. But the fate of the more 
dignified personages, who are left in the other room, 
is extremely dismal. The gentlemen spit, talk of 
elections and the price of produce, and spit again. 
The ladies look at each other's dresses till they 
know every pin by heart; talk of Parson Some- 
body's last sermon on the day of judgment, on 
Dr. T'otherbody's new pills for dyspepsia, till the 
" tea" is announced, when they all console them- 
selves together for whatever they may have suffered 
in keeping awake, by taking more tea, coffee, hot 
cake and custard, hoe cake, johny cake, wafHe 
cake, and dodger cake, pickled peaches, and pre- 
served cucumbers, ham, turkey, hung beef, apple 
sauce, and pickled oysters than ever were prepared 
E 6 



Si DOMESTIC MANNERS 

in any other country of the known world. After 
this massive meal is over, they return to the draw- 
ing-room, and it always appeared to me that they 
remained together as long as they could bear it, 
and then they rise en masse, cloak, bonnet, shawl, 
and exit. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 85 



CHAPTER VII. 

Market — Museum — Picture Gallery — Academy 
of Fine Arts — Drawing School — Phrenological 
Society — Miss Wrighfs Lecture. 

Perhaps the most advantageous feature in Cin- 
cinnati is its market, which, for excellence, abund- 
ance, and cheapness, can hardly, I should think, 
be surpassed in any part of the world, if I except 
the luxury of fruits, which are very inferior to any 
I have seen in Europe. There are no butchers, 
fishmongers, or indeed any shops for eatables, 
except bakeries, as they are called, in the town ; 
every thing must be purchased at market ; and 
to accomplish this, the busy housewife must be 
stirring betimes, or, 'spite of the abundant supply, 
she will find her hopes of breakfast, dinner, and 
supper for the day defeated, the market being 
pretty well over by eight o'clock. 

The beef is excellent, and the highest price 



86 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

when we were there, four cents (about two-pence) 
the pound. The mutton was inferior, and so 
was veal to the eye, but it ate well, though not 
very fat; the price was about the same. The 
poultry was excellent ; fowls or full-sized chickens, 
ready for table, twelve cents, but much less if 
bought alive, and not quite fat ; turkeys about 
fifty cents, and geese the same. The Ohio fur- 
nishes several sorts of fish, some of them very 
good, and always to be found cheap and abundant 
in the market. Eggs, butter, nearly all kinds of 
vegetables, excellent, and at moderate prices. 
From June till December tomatoes (the great 
luxury of the American table in the opinion of 
most Europeans) may be found in the highest 
perfection in the market for about sixpence the 
peck. They have a great variety of beans un- 
known in England, particularly the lima-bean, 
the seed of which is dressed like the French har- 
rico ; it furnishes a very abundant crop, and is a 
most delicious vegetable : could it be naturalised 
with us it would be a valuable acquisition. The 
Windsor, or broad-bean, will not do well there ; 
Mr. Bullock had them in his garden, where they 



OF THE AMERICANS. 87 

were cultivated with much care ; they grew about 
a foot high and blossomed, but the pod never 
ripened. All the fruit I saw exposed for sale in 
Cincinnati was most miserable. I passed two 
summers there, but never tasted a peach worth 
eating. Of apricots and nectarines I saw none ; 
strawberries very small, raspbenies much worse ; 
gooseberries very few, and quite uneatable ; cur- 
rants about half the size of ours, and about double 
the price ; grapes too sour for tarts ; apples abun- 
dant, but very indifferent, none that would be 
thought good enough for an English table ; pears, 
cherries, and plums most miserably bad. The 
flowers of these regions were at least equally in- 
ferior : whether this proceeds from want of culti- 
vation or from peculiarity of soil I know not, but 
after leaving Cincinnati, I was told by a gentleman 
who appeared to understand the subject, that the 
state of Ohio had no indigenous flowers or fruits. 
The water-melons, which in that warm climate 
furnish a delightful refreshment, were abundant 
and cheap ; but all other melons very inferior to 
those of France, or even of England, when ripened 
in a common hot-bed. 



88 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

From the almost total want of pasturage near 
the city, it is difficult for a stranger to divine how 
milk is furnished for its suj^ply, but we soon learnt 
that there are more ways than one of keeping a 
cow. A large proportion of the families in the 
town, particularly of the poorer class, have one, 
though apparently without any accommodation 
whatever for it. These animals are fed morning 
and evening at the door of the house, with a good 
mess of Indian corn, boiled with water ; while 
they eat, they are milked, and when the operation 
is completed the milk-pail and the meal-tub retreat 
into the dwelling, leaving the republican cow^ to 
walk away, to take her pleasure on the hills, or in 
the gutters, as may suit her fancy best. They 
generally return very regularly to give and take 
the morning and evening meal ; though it more 
than once hajDpened to us, before we were sup- 
plied by a regular milk cart, to have our jug sent 
home empty, with the sad news that " the cow was 
not come home, and it was too late to look for her 
to breakfast now." Once, I remember, the good 
woman told us that she had overslept herself, and 
that the cow had come and gone again, " not 



OF THE AMERICANS. 89 

liking, I expect, to hanker about by herself for 
nothing, poor thing." 

Cincinnati has not many lions to boast, but 
among them are two museums of natural history ; 
both of these contain many respectable specimens, 
particularly that of Mr. Dorfeuille, who has, more- 
over, some highly interesting Indian antiquities. 
He is a man of taste and science, but a collection 
formed strictly according to their dictates, would 
by no means satisfy the western metropolis. The 
people have a most extravagant passion for wax 
figures, and the two museums vie with each other 
in displaying specimens of this barbarous branch 
of art. As Mr. Dorfeuille cannot trust to his 
science for attracting the citizens, he has put his 
ingenuity into requisition, and this has proved to 
him the surer aid of the two. He has constructed 
a pandaemonium in an upper story of his museum, 
in which he has congregated all the images of 
horror that his fertile fancy could devise ; dwarls 
that by machinery grow into giants before the eyes 
of the spectator; imps of ebony with eyes of 
flame ; monstrous reptiles devouring youth and 
beauty ; lakes of fire, and mountains of ice ; in 



90 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

short, wax, paint and springs have done wonders. 
" To give the scheme some more effect," he makes 
it visible only through a gi'ate of massive iron 
bars, among which are aiTanged wires connected 
with an electrical machine in a neighbouring 
chamber ; should any daring hand or foot obtrude 
itself within the bars, it receives a smart shock, 
that often passes through many of the crowd, and 
the cause being unknown, the effect is exceedingly 
comic ; terror, astonishment, curiosity, are all set 
in action, and all contribute to make ^* Dorfeuille's 
Hell" one of the most amusing exhibitions ima- 
ginable. 

There is also a picture gallery at Cincinnati, and 
this was a circumstance of much interest to us, as 
our friend Mr. H., who had accompanied Miss 
Wright to America, in the expectation of finding 
a good opening in the line of historical painting, 
intended commencing his experiment at Cincin- 
nati. It would be invidious to describe the picture 
gallery ; I have no doubt, that some years hence 
it will present a very different appearance. Mr. 
H. was very kindly received by many of the gen- 
tlemen of the city, and though the state of the fine 



OF THE AMERICANS. 91 

arts there gave him but little hope that he should 
meet with much success, he immediately occupied 
himself in painting a noble historical picture of the 
landing of General Lafayette at Cincinnati. 

Perhaps the clearest proof of the little feeling 
for art that existed at that time in Cincinnati, may 
be drawn from the result of an experiment ori- 
ginated by a German, who taught drawing there. 
He conceived the project of forming a chartered 
academy of fine arts ; and he succeeded in the 
beginning to his utmost wish, or rather, " they 
fooled him to the top of his bent." Three thou- 
sand dollars were subscribed, that is to say, names 
w^ere written against different sums to that amount, 
a house was chosen, and finally, application was 
made to the government, and the charter obtained, 
rehearsing formally the names of the subscribing 
members, the professors, and the officers. So far 
did the steam of their zeal impel them, but at this 
point it was let off; the affair stood still, and I 
never heard the academy of fine arts mentioned 
afterwards. 

This same German gentleman, on seeing Mr. 
H.*s sketches, was so well pleased with them, 



92 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

that he immediately proposed his joining him in 
his drawing school, with an agreement, I believe, 
that his payment from it should be five hundred 
dollars a year. Mr. H. accepted the proposal, 
but the imion did not last long, and the cause of 
its dissolution was too American to be omitted. 
Mr. H. prepared his models, and attended the 
class, which was numerous, consisting both of 
boys and girls. He soon found that the " sage 
called Decipline'' was not one of the assistants, 
and he remonstrated against the constant talking, 
and running from one part of the room to another, 
but in vain ; finding, however, that he could do 
nothing till tliis was discontinued, he wrote some 
i-ules, enforcing order, for the purpose of placing 
them at the door of the academy. When he 
shewed them to his colleague, he shook his head, 
and said, ^' Very goot, very goot in Europe, but 
America boys and gals vill not bear it, dey will do 
just vat dey please ; Suur, dey vould all go avay 
next day." " And you will not enforce these re- 
gulations si necessaires, Monsieur ?" " O lar ! not 
for de vorld." '' Eh lien, Monsieur, I must leave 
the young republicans to your management." 



OF THE AMERICANS. 93 

I heard anotlier anecdote that will help to show 
the state of art at this time in the west. Mr. 
Bullock was shewing to some gentlemen of the 
first standing, the very elite of Cincinnati, his 
beautiful collection of engravings, when one among 
them exclaimed, " Have you really done all these 
since you came here ? How hard you must have 
worked !" 

T was also told of a gentleman of High Cincin- 
nati, ton and critical in his taste for the fine arts, 
who, having a drawing put into his hands, repre- 
senting Hebe and the bird, umquhile sacred to 
Jupiter, demanded in a satirical tone, " AVhat is 
this ?" " Hebe," replied the alarmed collector. 
" Hebe," sneered the man of taste, " What the 
devil has Hebe to do with the American eagle ?" 

We had not been long at Cincinnati when Dr, 
Caldwell, the Spurzheim of America, arrived 
there for the purpose of delivering lectures on 
phrenology. I attended his lectures, and was in- 
troduced to him. He has studied Spurzheim and 
Combe diligently, and seems to understand the 
science to which he has devoted himself; but 
neither his lectures nor his conversation had that 



94 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

deliglitful truth of genuine enthusiasm, which 
makes listening to Dr. Spurzheim so great a treat. 
His lectures, however, produced considerable 
effect. Between twenty and thirty of the most 
erudite citizens decided upon forming a phrenolo- 
gical society. A meeting was called, and fully 
attended; a respectable number of subscribers' 
names was registered, the payment of subscrip- 
tions being arranged for a future day. Presi- 
dent, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary, 
were chosen ; and the first meeting dissolved with 
every appearance of energetic perseverance in 
scientific research. 

The second meeting brought together one-half 
of this learned body, and they enacted rules and 
laws, and passed resolutions, sufficient, it was said, 
to have filled three folios. 

A third day of meeting arrived, which was an 
important one, as on this occasion the subscrip- 
tions were to be paid. The treasurer came punc- 
tually, but found himself alone. With patient 
hope, he waited two hours for the wise men of the 
west, but he waited in vain : and so expired the 
Phrenological Society of Cincinnati. 
13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 95 

I had often occasion to remark that the spirit of 
enterprise or improvement seldom glowed with 
sufficient ardour to resist the smothering effect of 
a demand for dollars. The Americans love talk- 
ing. All great works, however, that promise a 
profitable result, are sure to meet support from 
men who have enterprise and capital sufficient to 
await the return ; but where there is nothing but 
glory, or the gratification of taste to be expected, 
it is, I believe, very rarely that they give any thing 
beyond '' their most sweet voices." 

Perhaps they are right. In Europe we see for- 
tunes crippled by a passion for statues, or for 
pictures, or for books, or for gems ; for all and 
every of the artificial wants that give grace to 
life, and tend to make man forget that he is a 
thing of clay. They are wiser in their generation 
on the other side the Atlantic ; I rarely saw any 
thing that led to such oblivion there. 

Soon after Dr. Caldwell's departure, another 
lecturer appeared upon the scene, whose purpose 
of publicly addressing the people was no sooner 
made known, than the most violent sensation was 
excited. 



96 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

That a lady of fortune, family, and education, 
whose youth had been passed in the most refined 
circles of private life, should present herself to the 
people as a public lecturer, would naturally excite 
surprise any where, and the 7iil admirari of the 
old world itself, w^ould hardly be sustained before 
such a spectacle ; but in America, where women 
are guarded by a seven-fold shield of habitual 
insignificance, it caused an effect that can hardly 
be described. " Miss Wright, of Nashoba, is 
going to lecture at the court-house," sounded from 
street to street, and from house to house. I shared 
the surprise, but not the wonder; I knew her 
extraordinary gift of eloquence, her almost un- 
equalled command of words, and the wonderful 
power of her rich and thrilling voice; arid I 
doubted not that if it was her will to do it, she 
had the power of commanding the attention, and 
enchanting the ear of any audience before whom 
it was her pleasure to appear. I was most anxious 
to hear her, but was almost deterred fi-om attempt- 
ing it, by the reports that reached me of the 
immense crowd that was expected. After many 
consultations, and hearing that many other ladies 



OF THE AMERICANS. 97 

intended going, my friend Mrs. P****, and myself, 
decided upon making the attempt, accompanied 
by a party of gentlemen, and fomid the difficulty 
less than we anticipated, though the building 
was crowded in every part. We congratulated 
ourselves that we had had the courage to be 
among the number, for all my expectations fell 
far short of the splendour, the brilliance, the 
overwhelming eloquence of this extraordinary 
orator. 

Her lecture was upon the nature of true know- 
ledge, and it contained little that could be objected 
to, by any sect or party ; it was intended as an 
introduction to the strange and startling theories 
contained in her subsequent lectures, and could 
alann only by the hints it contained that the fabric 
of human wisdom could rest securely on no other 
base than that of human knowledge. 

There was, however, one passage from which 
common-sense revolted ; it was one wherein she 
quoted that phrase of mischievous sophistry, " all 
men are born free and equal." 

This false and futile axiom, which has done, is 
doing, and will do so much harm to this fine 

YOL. I. F 



98 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

country, came from Jefferson ; and truly his life 
was a glorious commentary upon it. I pretend not 
to criticise his written works, but common-sense 
enables me to pronounce this, his favourite maxim, 
false. 

Few names are held in higher estimation in 
America, than that of Jefferson ; it is the touch- 
stone of the democratic party, and all seem to 
agi'ee that he was one of the greatest of men ; yet 
I have heard his name coupled with deeds which 
would make the sons of Europe shudder. The 
facts I allude to are spoken openly by all, not 
whispered privately by a few ; and in a country 
where religion is the tea-table talk, and its strict 
observance a fashionable distinction, these facts 
are recorded, and listened to, without horror, nay, 
without emotion. 

Mr. Jefferson is said to have been the father of 
children by almost all his numerous gang of female 
slaves. These wretched offspring were also the 
lawful slaves of their father, and worked in his 
house and plantations as such ; in particular, it 
is recorded that it was his especial pleasure to be 
waited upon by them at table, and the hospitable 

13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 99 

orgies for which his Montecielo was so celebrated, 
were incomplete, unless the goblet he quaffed 
were tendered by the trembling hand of his own 
slavish offspring. 

I once heard it stated by a democratical adorer 
of this great man, that when, as it sometimes 
happened, his children by Quadroon slaves were 
white enough to escape suspicion of their origin, 
he did not pursue them if they attempted to 
escape, saying laughingly, " Let the rogues get 
off, if they can ; I will not hinder them." This 
was stated in a large party, as a proof of his kind 
and noble nature, and was received by all with 
approving smiles. 

If I know any thing of right or wrong, if virtue 
and vice be indeed something more than words, 
then was this great American an unprincipled 
tyrant, and most heartless libertine. 

But to return to Miss Wright, — it is impossible 
to imagine any thing more striking than her ap- 
pearance. Her tall and majestic figure, the deep 
and almost solemn expression of her eyes, the 
simple contour of her finely formed head, un- 
adomed, excepting by its own natural ringlets; 
f2 



100 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

her garment of plain white muslin, which hung 
around her in folds that recalled the drapery of a 
Grecian statue, all contributed to produce an 
effect, unlike any thing 1 had ever seen before, or 
ever expect to see again. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 101 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Absence of public and private Amusement — 
Churches and Chapels — Influence of the Clergy 
— A Revival. 

I NEVER saw any people who appeared to live so 

much without amusement as the Cincinnatians. 

Billiards are forbidden by law, so are cards. To 

sell a pack of cards in Ohio subjects the seller to 

a penalty of fifty dollars. They have no public 

balls, excepting, I think, six, during the Christmas 

holidays. They have no concerts. They have no 

dinner parties. 

They have a theatre, which is, in fact, the only 

public amusement of this triste little town ; but 

they seem to care little about it, and either from 

economy or distaste, it is very poorly attended. 

Ladies are rarely seen there, and by far the larger 

proportion of females deem it an offence against 

religion to witness the representation of a play. 
r3 



102 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

It is in the churches and chapels of the town that 
the ladies are to be seen in full costume ; and I am 
tempted to believe that a stranger from the conti- 
nent of Europe would be inclined, on first recon- 
noitering the city, to su^^pose that the places of 
worship were the theatres and cafes of the place. 
No evening in the week but brings throngs of the 
young and beautiful to the chapels and meeting- 
houses, all dressed with care, and sometimes with 
great pretension; it is there that all display is 
made, and all fashionable distinction sought. The 
proportion of gentlemen attending these evening 
meetings is very small, but often, as might be ex- 
pected, a sprinkling of smart young clerks make 
this sedulous display of ribbons and ringlets intel- 
ligible and natural. Were it not for the churches, 
indeed, I think there might be a general bonfire of 
best bonnets, for I never could discover any other 
use for them. 

The ladies are too actively employed in the inte- 
rior of their houses to permit much parading in 
full dress for morning visits. There are no public 
gardens or lounging shops of fashionable resort, 
and were it not for public worship, and private 



OF THE AMERICANS. 103 

tea-drinkings, all the ladies in Cincinnati would 
be in danger of becoming perfect recluses. 

The influence which the ministers of all the 
innumerable religious sects throughout America, 
have on the females of their respective congrega- 
tions, approaches very nearly to what we read of 
in Spain, or in other strictly Roman Catholic 
countries. There are many causes for this pecu- 
liar influence. Where equality of rank is affect- 
edly acknowledged by the rich, and clamorously 
claimed by the poor, distinction and pre-eminence 
are allowed to the clergy only. This gives them 
high importance in the eyes of the ladies. I 
think, also, that it is from the clergy only that the 
women of America receive that sort of attention 
which is so dearly valued by every female heart 
throughout the world. With the priests of Ame- 
rica, the women hold that degree of influential 
importance which, in the countries of Europe, is 
allowed them throughout all orders and ranks of 
society, except, perhaps, the very lowest ; and in 
return for this they seem to give their hearts and 
souls into their keeping. I never saw, or read, of 
f4 



104 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

any country where religion had so strong a hold 
upon the women, or a slighter hold upon the men. 

I mean not to assert that I met with no men of 
sincerely religious feelings, or with no women of 
no religious feelings at all; but I feel perfectly 
secure of being connect as to the great majority in 
the statement I have made. 

We had not been many months in Cincinnati 
when our curiosity was excited by hearing the " re- 
vival" talked of by every one we met throughout 
the town. " The revival will be very full"—" We 
shall be constantly engaged during the revival" — 
were the phrases we constantly heard repeated, 
and for a long time, without in the least compre- 
hending what was meant ; but at length I learnt that 
the un-national church of America required to be 
roused, at regular intervals, to greater energy and 
exertion. At these seasons the most enthusiastic 
of the clergy travel the country, and enter the 
cities and towns by scores, or by hundreds, as the 
accommodation of the place may admit, and for a 
week or fortnight, or, if the population be large, 
for a month ; they preach and pray all day, and 



OF THE AMERICANS. 305 

often for a considerable portion of the night, in 
the various churches and chapels of the place. 
This is called a Revival. 

I took considerable pains to obtain information 
on this subject ; but in detailing what I learnt I 
fear that it is probable I shall be accused of exag- 
geration ; all I can do is cautiously to avoid 
deserving it. The subject is highly interesting, 
and it would be a fault of no trifling nature to treat 
it with levity. 

These itinerant clergymen are of all persuasions, 
I believe, except the Episcopalian, Catholic, Uni- 
tarian, and Quaker. I heard of Presbyterians of 
all varieties ; of Baptists of I know not how many 
divisions ; and of Methodists of more denomina- 
tions than I can remember; whose innumerable 
shades of varying belief, it would require much 
time to explain, and more to comprehend. They 
enter all the cities, towns, and villages of the 
Union, in succession ; I could not learn with suffi- 
cient certainty to repeat, what the interval gene- 
rally is between their visits. These itinerants are, 
for the most part, lodged in the houses of their 
respective followers, and every evening that is not 
F5 



106 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

spent in the cliurches and meeting-houses, is 
devoted to what would be called parties by others, 
but which they designate as prayer meetings. 
Here they eat, drink, pray, sing, hear confessions, 
and make converts. To these meetings I never 
got invited, and therefore I have nothing but 
hear-say evidence to offer, but my information 
comes from an eye-witness, and one on whom I 
believe I may depend. If one half of what I 
heard may be believed, these social prayer meet- 
ings are by no means the most curious, or the 
least important part of the business. 

It is impossible not to smile at the close 
resemblance to be traced between the feelings of 
a first-rate Presbyterian or Methodist lady, for- 
tunate enough to have secured a favourite Itinerant 
for her meeting, and those of a first-rate London 
Blue, equally blest in the presence of a fashionable 
poet. There is a strong family likeness among us 
all the world over. 

The best rooms, the best dresses, the choicest 
refreshments solemnize the meeting. "VMiile the 
party is assembling, the load-star of the hour is 
occupied in whispering conversations with the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 107 

guests as they arrive. They are called brothers 
and sisters, and the greetings are very affectionate. 
When the room is full, the company, of whom a 
vast majority are always women, are invited, in- 
treated, and coaxed to confess before their brothers 
and sisters, all their thoughts, faults, and follies. 

These confessions are strange scenes ; the more 
they confess, the more invariably are they en- 
couraged and caressed. When this is over, they 
all kneel, and the Itinerant prays extempore. 
They then eat and drink ; and then they sing 
hymns, pray, exhort, sing, and pray again, till the 
excitement reaches a very high pitch indeed. 
These scenes are going on at some house or other 
every evening during the revival, nay, at many at 
the same time, for the churches and meeting- 
houses cannot give occupation to half the Itine- 
rants, though they are all open throughout the 
day, and till a late hour in the night, and the 
officiating ministers succeed each other in the 
occupation of them. 

It was at the principal of the Presbyterian 
churches that I was twice witness to scenes that 
made me shudder; in describing one, I describe 
f6 



108 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

both, and every one ; the same thing is constantly 
repeated. 

It was in the middle of summer, but the service 
we were recommended to attend did not begin till 
it was dark. The church was well lighted, and 
crowded almost to suffocation. On entering, we 
found three priests standing side by side, in a sort 
of tribune, placed where the altar usually is, hand- 
somely fitted up with crimson curtains, and ele- 
vated about as high as our pulpits. We took 
our places in a pew close to the rail which sur- 
rounded it. 

The priest who stood in the middle was praying ; 
the prayer was extravagantly vehement, and offen- 
sively familiar in expression ; when this ended, a 
hymn was sung, and then another priest took the 
centre place, and preached. The sermon had 
considerable eloquence, but of a frightful kind. 
The preacher described, with ghastly minuteness, 
the last feeble fainting moments of human life, 
and then the gradual progress of decay after 
death, which he followed through every process 
up to the last loathsome stage of decomposition. 
Suddenly changing his tone, which had been that 



OF THE AMERICANS. 109 

of sober accurate description, into the shrill voice 
of horror, he bent forward his head, as if to gaze 
on some object beneath the pulpit. And as Re- 
becca made known to Ivanhoe what she saw 
through the w^indow, so the preacher made known 
to us what he saw in the pit that seemed to open 
before him. The device was certainly a happy 
one for giving effect to his description of hell. 
No image that fire, flame, brimstone, molten lead, 
or red-hot pincers could supply; with flesh, nerves, 
and sinews quivering under them, was omitted. 
The perspiration ran in streams from the face of the 
preacher; his eyes rolled, his lips were covered 
with foam, and every feature had the deep expres- 
sion of horror it would have borne, had he, in 
truth, been gazing at the scene he described. 
The acting was excellent. At length he gave a 
languishing look to his supporters on each side, as 
if to express his feeble state, and then sat down, 
and wiped the drops of agony from his brow. 

The other two priests arose, and began to sing a 
hymn. It was some seconds before the congrega- 
tion could join as usual; every up-turned face 
looked pale and horror struck. When the sing- 



110 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

iiig ended, another took tlie centre place, and 
began in a sort of coaxing affectionate tone, to ask 
the congregation if what their dear brother had 
spoken had reached their hearts ? Whether they 
would avoid the hell he had made them see? 
" Come, then !" he continued, stretching out his 
aims towards them, *' come to us, and tell us so, 
and we will make you see Jesus, the dear gentle 
Jesus, who shall save you from it. But you must 
come to him ! You must not be ashamed to come 
to him ! This night you shall tell him that you 
are not ashamed of him ; we will make way for 
you ; we will clear the bench for anxious sinners 
to sit upon. Come, then ! come to the anxious 
bench, and we will shew you Jesus ! Come ! 
Come ! Come !" 

Again a hymn was sung, and while it continued, 
one of the three was employed in clearing one or 
two long benches that went across the rail, send- 
ing the people back to the lower part of the church. 
The singing ceased, and again the people were 
invited, and exhorted not to be ashamed of Jesus, 
but to put themselves upon" the anxious benches," 
and lay their heads on his bosom. " Once 



OF THE AMERICANS. Ill 

more we will sing," he concluded, " that we may 
give you time." And again they sung a hymn. 

And now in every part of the church a move- 
ment was perceptible, slight at first, but by degrees 
becoming more decided. Young girls arose, and 
sat down, and rose again; and then the pews 
opened, and several came tottering out, their hands 
clasped, their heads hanging on their bosoms, and 
every limb trembling, and still the hymn went on ; 
but as the poor creatures approached the rail their 
sobs and groans became audible. They seated 
themselves on the " anxious benches ;" the hymn 
ceased, and two of the three priests walked down 
fi-om the tribune, and going, one to the right, and 
the other to the left, began whispering to the poor 
tremblers seated there. These whispers were 
inaudible to us, but the sobs and groans increased 
to a frightful excess. Young creatures, with fea- 
tures pale and distorted, fell on their knees on the 
pavement, and soon sunk forward on their faces ; 
the most violent cries and shrieks followed, while 
from time to time a voice was heard in convulsive 
accents, exclaiming, " Oh Lord !" " Oh Lord 
Jesus ! " " Help me, Jesus ! "' and the like. 



112 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

Meanwhile the two priests continued to walk 
among them; they repeatedly momited on the 
benches, and trumpet-mouthed proclaimed to the 
whole congregation, " the tidings of salvation," 
and then from every corner of the building arose 
in reply, short sharp cries of " Amen !" " Glory !" 
" Amen !" while the prostrate penitents continued 
to receive whispered comfortings, and from time 
to time a mystic caress. More than once I saw 
a young neck encircled by a reverend arm. Vio- 
lent hysterics and convulsions seized many of 
them, and when the tumujt was at the highest, 
the priest who remained above, again gave out a 
hymn as if to drown it. 

It was a frightful sight to behold innocent 
young creatures, in the gay morning of existence, 
thus seized upon, horror struck, and rendered 
feeble and enervated for ever. One young girl, 
apparently not more than fourteen, was supported 
in the arms of another, some years older ; her face 
was pale as death ; her eyes wide open, and 
perfectly devoid of meaning ; her chin and bosom 
wet with slaver ; she had every appearance of 
idiotism. I saw a priest approach her, he took 



OF THE AMERICANS. 113 

her delicate hand, "Jesus is with her ! Bless the 
Lord !" he said, and passed on. 

Did the men of America value their women as 
men ought to value their wives and daughters, 
would such scenes be permitted among them ? 

It is hardly necessary to say that all who 
obeyed the call to place themselves on the " anxious 
benches" were women, and by far the greater 
number, very young women. The congregation 
was, in general, extremely well dressed, and the 
smartest and most fashionable ladies of the town 
were there ; during the whole revival the churches 
and meeting-houses were every day crowded with 
well dressed people. 

It is thus the ladies of Cincinnati amuse them- 
selves ; to attend the theatre is forbidden ; to play 
cards is unlawful; but they work hard in their 
families, and must have some relaxation. For 
myself, I confess that I think the coarsest comedy 
ever written would be a less detestable exhibition 
for the eyes of youth and innocence than such 
a scene. 



114 DOMESTIC MANNERS 



CHAPTER IX. 

Schools — Climate — Water Melons — Fourth of 
July — Storms — Pigs — Moving Houses — Mr, 
Flirt — Literature. 

Cincinnati contains many schools, but of their 
rank or merit I had very little opportimity of 
judging ; the only one which I visited was kept 
by Dr. Lock, a gentleman who appears to have 
liberal and enlarged opinions on the subject of 
female education. Should his system produce 
practical results proportionably excellent, the 
ladies of Cincinnati will probably some years 
hence be much improved in their powers of com- 
23anionship. I attended the annual public ex- 
hibition at this school, and perceived, with some 
surprise, that the higher branches of science were 
among the studies of the pretty creatures I saw 
assembled there. One lovely girl of sixteen took 
her degree in mathematics, and another was ex- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 115 

amined in moral philosophy. They blushed so 
sweetly, and looked so beautifully puzzled and 
confounded, that it might have been diflficult for 
an abler judge than I was to decide how far they 
merited the diploma they received. 

This method of letting young ladies graduate, 
and granting them diplomas on quitting the estab- 
lishment, was quite new to me ; at least, I do not 
remember to have heard of any thing similar else- 
where. I should fear that the time allowed to the 
fair graduates of Cincinnati for the acquirement af 
these various branches of education would seldom 
be sufficient to permit their reaching the eminence 
in each which their enlightened instructor anti- 
cipates. '' A quarter's" mathematics, or " t\^'o 
quarters' " political economy, moral philosophy, 
algebra, and quadratic equations, would seldom, I 
should think, enable the teacher and the scholar, 
by their joint efforts, to lay in such a stock of 
these sciences as would stand the wear and tear 
of half a score of children, and one help. 

Towards the end of May we began to feel that 
we were in a climate \\armer than any we had 



116 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

been accustomed to, and my son suffered severely 
from the effects of it. A bilious complaint, at- 
tended by a frightful degree of fever, seized him, 
and for some days we feared for his life. The 
treatment he received was, I have no doubt, ju- 
dicious, but the quantity of calomel prescribed 
was enormous. I asked one day how many grains 
I should prepare, and was told to give half a tea- 
spoonful. The difference of climate must, I ima- 
gine, make a difference in the effect of this drug, 
or the practice of the old and new world could 
hardly differ so widely as it does in the use of it. 
Anstey, speaking of the Bath physicians, says, 

" No one e'er viewed 
Any one of the medical gentlemen stewed." 

But I can vouch, upon my own experience, that 
no similar imputation lies against the gentlemen 
who prescribe large quantities of calomel in Ame- 
rica. To give one instance in proof of this, when 
I was afterwards in Montgomery county, near 
Washington, a physician attended one of our 
neighbours, and complained that he was himself 



OF THE AMERICANS. 117 

unwell. " You must take care of yourself, Doctor," 
said the patient ; " I do so," lie replied, " I took 
forty grains of calomel yesterday, and I feel better 
than I did." Repeated and violent bleeding was 
also had recourse to in the case of my son, and in 
a few days he was able to leave his room, but he 
was dreadfully emaciated, and it was many weeks 
before he recovered his strength. 

As the heat of the weather increased we heard 
of much sickness around us. The city is full of 
physicians, and they were all to be seen driving 
about in their cabs at a very alarming rate. One 
of these gentlemen told us, that when a medical 
man intended settling in a new situation, he 
always, if he knew his business, walked through 
the streets at night, before he decided. If he saw 
the dismal twinkle of the watch-light from many 
windows he might be sure that disease was busy, 
and that the " location" might suit him well. 
Judging, by this criterion, Cincinnati was far from 
healthy, I began to fear for our health, and deter- 
mined to leave the city ; but, for a considerable 
time I found it impossible to procure a dwelling 
out of it. There were many boarding-houses in 



118 DOMESTIC MAXXERS 

the vicinity, but they were all overflowing with 
guests. We were advised to avoid, as much as 
possible, walking out in the heat of the dayj but 
the mornings and evenings were delightful, parti- 
cularly the former, if taken sufficiently early. For 
several weeks I was never in bed after four o'clock, 
and at this hour I almost daily accompanied my 
" help" to market, where the busy novelty of the 
scene afforded me much amusement. 

Many waggon-loads of enormous water-melons 
were brought to market every day, and I was sure 
to see groups of men, women, and children seated 
on the pavement round the s23ot where they were 
sold, sucking in prodigious quantities of this 
watery fruit. Their manner of devouring them is 
extremely unpleasant ; the huge fruit is cut into 
half a dozen sections, of about a foot long, and 
then, dripping as it is with water, applied to the 
mouth, from either side of which pour copious 
streams of the fluid, while, ever and anon, a 
mouthful of the hard black seeds are shot out in 
all directions, to the great annoyance of all within 
reach. When I first tasted this fruit I thought it 
very vile stuff" indeed, but before the end of the 



reg J>a9e//S 




IKETIUBKII^G FBTDM MAlEiKKT. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 119 

season we all learned to like it. When taken 
with claret and sugar it makes delicious wine and 
water. 

It is the custom for the gentlemen to go to 
market at Cincinnati; the smartest men in the 
place, and those of the " highest standing" do not 
scruple to leave their beds with the sun, six days 
in the week, and, prepared with a mighty basket, 
to sally forth in search of meat, butter, eggs, and 
vegetables. I have continually seen them return- 
ing, with their weighty basket on one arm and an 
enormous ham depending from the other. 

And now arrived the 4th of July, that greatest 
of all American festivals. On the 4th of July, 
1776, the declaration of their independence was 
signed, at the State-house in Philadelphia. 

To me, the dreary coldness and want of en- 
thusiasm in American manners is one of their 
greatest defects, and I therefore hailed the demon- 
strations of general feeling which this day elicits 
with real pleasure. On the 4th of July the hearts 
of the people seem to awaken from a three hun- 
dred and sixty -four days' sleep ; they appear high- 
spirited, gay, animated, social, generous, or at 



120 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

least liberal in expense ; and would they bat re- 
frain from spitting on that hallowed day, I should 
say, that on the 4th of July, at least, they appeared 
to be an amiable people. It is true that the 
women have but little to do with the pageantry, 
the splendour, or the gaiety of the day ; but, setting 
this defect aside, it was indeed a glorious sight to 
behold a jubilee so heartfelt as this ; and had they 
not the bad taste and bad feeling to utter an an- 
nual oration, with unvarying abuse of the mother 
country, to say nothing of the warlike manifesto 
called the Declaration of Independence, our gra- 
cious king himself might look upon the scene and 
say that it was good ; nay, even rejoice, that twelve 
millions of bustling bodies, at four thousand miles 
distance from his throne and his altars, should make 
their own laws, and drink their own tea, after the 
fashion that pleased them best. 

One source of deep interest to us, in this new 
clime, was the frequent recurrence of thunder- 
storms. Those who have only listened to thunder 
in England have but a faint idea of the language 
which the gods speak when they are angry. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 121 

Thomson's description, however, will do : it is 
hardly possible that words can better paint the 
spectacle, or more truly echo to the sound, than 
his do. The only point he does not reach is the 
vast blaze of rose-coloured light that ever and anon 
sets the landscape on fire. 

In reading this celebrated description in Ame- 
rica, and observing how admirably true it was to 
nature there, I seemed to get a glimpse at a poet's 
machinery, and to perceive, that in order to pro- 
duce effect he must give his images more vast than 
he finds them in nature ; but the proportions must 
be just, and the colouring true. Every thing seems 
colossal on this great continent ; if it rains, if it 
blows, if it thunders, it is all done /ortissiino ; but 
I often felt terror yield to wonder and delight, so 
grand, so glorious were the scenes a storm exhi- 
bited. Accidents are certainly more frequent than 
with us, but not so much so as reasonably to bring 
terror home to one's bosom every time a mass of 
lurid clouds is seen rolling up against the wind. 
****** ^ 

It seems hardly fair to quarrel with a place 
because its staple commodity is not pretty, but 1 

VOL. I. G 



122 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

am sure I should have liked Cincinnati much 
better if the people had not dealt so very largely 
in hogs. The immense quantity of business done 
in this line would hardly be believed by those who 
had not witnessed it. I never saw a newspaper 
without remarking such advertisements as the fol- 
lowing : 

" Wanted, immediately, 4,000 fat hogs." 
" For sale, 2,000 barrels of prime pork." 
But the annoyance came nearer than this ; if 
I determined upon a walk up Main-street, the 
chances were five hundred to one against my 
reaching the shady side without brushing by a 
snout fresh dripping from the kennel ; when we 
had screwed our courage to the enterprise of 
mounting a certain noble-looking sugar-loaf hill, 
that promised pure air and a fine view, we found 
the brook we had to cross, at its foot, red with the 
stream from a pig slaughter-house ; while our noses, 
instead of meeting " the thyme that loves the 
green hill's breast," were greeted by odours that I 
will not describe, and which I heartily hope my 
readers cannot imagine ; our feet, that on leaving 
the city had expected to press the flowery sod, 



OF THE AMERICANS. 123 

literally got entangled in pigs' tails and jaw- 
bones : and thus the prettiest walk in the neigh- 
bourhood was interdicted for ever. 

One of the sights to stare at in America is that 
of houses moving from place to place. We were 
often amused by watching this exhibition of me- 
chanical skill in the streets. They make no diffi- 
culty of moving dwellings from one part of the 
town to another. Those I saw travelling were all 
of them frame-houses, that is, built wholly of 
wood, except the chimneys ; but it is said that 
brick buildings are sometimes treated in the same 
manner. The largest dwelling that I saw in mo- 
tion was one containing two stories of four rooms 
each ; forty oxen were yoked to it. The first few 
yards brought down the two stacks of chimneys, 
but it afterwards went on well. The great diffi- 
culties were the first getting it in motion and the 
stopping exactly in the right place. This loco- 
motive power was extremely convenient at Cincin- 
nati, as the constant improvements going on there 
made it often desirable to change a wooden dwell- 
ing for one of brick ; and whenever this happened, 
G 2 



124 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

we were sure to see the ex No. 100 of Main-street 
or the ex No. 55 of Second-street creephig quietly 
out of town, to take possession of a humble sub- 
urban station on the common above it. 

******* 
The most agreeable acquaintance I made in 
Cincinnati, and indeed one of the most talented 
men I ever met, was Mr. Flint, the author of 
several extremely clever volumes, and the editor 
of the Western Monthly Review. His conversa- 
tional powers are of the highest order : he is the 
only person I remember to have known with first- 
rate powers of satire, and even of sarcasm, whose 
kindness of nature and of manner remained per- 
fectly uninjured. In some of his critical notices 
there is a strength and keenness second to nothing 
of the kind I have ever read. He is a warm 
patriot, and so true-hearted an American, that we 
could not always be of the same opinion on all the 
subjects we discussed ; but whether it were the 
force and brilliancy of his language, his genuine 
and manly sincerity of feeling, or his bland and 
gentleman-like manner that beguiled me, I know 
not, but certainly he is the only American I ever 



OF THE AMERICANS. 125 

listened to whose unqualified praise of his country 
did not appear to me somewhat overstrained and 
ridiculous. 

On one occasion, but not at the house of Mr. 
Flint, I passed an evening in company with a 
gentleman said to be a scholar and a man of read- 
ing ; he was also what is called a serious gentle- 
man, and he appeared to have pleasure in feeling 
that his claim to distinction was acknowledged in 
both capacities. There was a very amiable serious 
lady in the company, to whom he seemed to trust 
for the development of his celestial pretensions, 
and to me he did the honour of addressing most 
of his terrestrial superiority. The difference be- 
tween us was, that when he spoke to her, he spoke 
as to a being who, if not his equal, was at least de 
serving high distinction ; and he gave her smiles, 
such as Michael might have vouchsafed to Eve. 
To me he spoke as Paul to the offending Jews ; 
he did not, indeed, shake his raiment at me, but 
he used his pocket-handkerchief so as to answer 
the purpose ; and if every sentence did not end with 
'• I am clean," pronounced by his lips, his tone, his 
look, his action, fully supplied the deficiency. 
G 3 



126 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

Our poor Lord Byron, as may be supposed, was 
the bull's-eye against which every dart in his black 
little quiver was aimed. I had never heard any 
serious gentleman talk of Lord Byron at full length 
before, and I listened attentively. It was evident 
that the noble passages which are graven on the 
hearts of the genuine lovers of poetry had alto- 
gether escaped the serious gentleman's attention ; 
and it was equally evident that he knew by rote 
all those that they wish the mighty master had 
never written. T told him so, and I shall not soon 
forget the look he gave me. 

Of other authors his knowledge was very im- 
perfect, but his criticisms very amusing. Of Pope, 
he said, " He is so entirely gone by, that in our 
country it is considered quite fustian to speak of 
him." 

But I persevered, and named " the Rape of the 
Lock'' as evincing some little talent, and being in 
a tone that might still hope for admittance in the 
drawing-room ; but, on the mention of this poem, 
the serious gentleman became almost as strongly 
agitated as when he talked of Don Juan ; and 1 
was unfeignedly at a loss to comprehend the nature 



OF THE AMERICANS. 127 

of his feelings, till he muttered, with an indignant 
shake of the handkerchief, " The very title !" * * 

At the name of Dryden he smiled, and the 
smile spoke as plainly as a smile could speak, 
" How the old woman twaddles !" 

" We only know Dryden by quotations. Madam, 
and these, indeed, are found only in books that 
have long since had their day." 

" And Shakspeare, sir ?" 

" Shakspeare, Madam, is obscene, and, thank 
God, WE are sufficiently advanced to have found 
it out ! If we must have the abomination of stage 
plays, let them at least be marked by the refine- 
ment of the age in which we live.'* 

This was certainly being aii courant du 
jour. 

Of Massenger he knew nothing. Of Ford he 
had never heard. Gray had had his day. Prior 
he had never read, but understood he was a very 
childish writer. Chaucer and Spenser he tied 
in a couple, and dismissed by saying, that he 
thought it was neither more nor less than affecta- 
tion to talk of authors who wrote in a tongue no 
longer intelligible. 

G 4 



1*28 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

This was the most literary conversation I was 
ever present at in Cincinnati *. 

In truth, there are many reasons which render 
a very general diffusion of literature impossible in 
America. I can scarcely class the universal read- 
ing of newspapers as an exception to this remark; 
if I could, my statement would be exactly the 
reverse, and I should say that America beat the 
world in letters. The fact is, that throughout all 
ranks of society, from the successful merchant, 
which is the highest, to the domestic serving man, 
which is the lowest, they are all too actively em- 
ployed to read, except at such broken moments as 
may suffice for a peep at a newspaper. It is for 
this reason, I presume, that every American news- 
paper is more or less a magazine, wherein the 
merchant may scan while he holds out his hand 
for an invoice, " Stanzas by Mrs. Hemans," or a 
garbled extract from Moore's Life of Byron ; the 
lawyer may study his brief faithfully, and yet 
contrive to pick up the valuable dictum of some 

* The pleasant, easy, unpretending talk on all subjects, which 
I enjoyed in Mr. Flint's family, was an exception to every thing 
else 1 met at Cincinnati. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 129 

American critic, that " Bulwer's novels are de- 
cidedly superior to Sir Walter Scott's ;" nay, even 
the auctioneer may find time, as he bustles to his 
tub, or his tribune, to support his pretensions to 
polite learning, by glancing his quick eye over the 
columns, and reading that ^' Miss Mitford's de- 
scriptions are indescribable." If you buy a yard 
of ribbon, the shop-keeper lays down his news- 
paper, perhaps two or three, to measure it. I 
have seen a brewer's dray-man perched on the 
shaft of his dray and reading one newspaper, 
while another was tucked under his arm ; and I 
once went into the cottage of a country shoe-maker, 
of the name of Harris, where I saw a newspaper 
half full of " original" poetry, directed to Madison 
F. Harris. To be sure of the fact, I asked the 
man if his name were Madison. " Yes, Madam, 
Madison Franklin Harris is my name." The last 
and the lyre divided his time, I fear too equally, 
for he looked pale and poor. 

This, I presume, is what is meant by the 

general diffusion of knowledge, so boasted of in 

the United States ; such as it is, the diffusion 

of it is general enough, certainly ; but I greatly 

G 5 



130 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

doubt its being advantageous to the popula- 
tion. 

The only reading men I met with were those 
who made letters their profession ; and of these, 
there were some who would hold a higher rank in 
the great Republic (not of America, but of letters), 
did they write for persons less given to the study 
of magazines and newspapers ; and they might 
hold a higher rank still, did they write for the few 
and not for the many. I was always drawing a 
parallel, perhaps a childish one, between the ex- 
ternal and internal deficiency of polish and of 
elegance in the native volumes of the country. 
Their compositions have not that condensation of 
thought, or that elaborate finish, which the con- 
sciousness of writing for the scholar and the man 
of taste is calculated to give ; nor have their dirty 
blue paper and slovenly types * the polished ele- 
gance that fits a volume for the hand or the eye of 
the fastidious epicure in literary enjoyment. The 
first book I bought in America was the " Chronicles 

* I must make an exception in favour of the American Quar- 
tei-ly Review. To the eye of the body it is in all respects exactly 
the same thing as tlie English Quarterly Review. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 131 

of the Cannongate." On asking the price, I was 
agreeably surprised to hear a dollar and a half 
named, being about one- sixth of what I used to 
pay for its fellows in England ; but on opening 
the grim pages, it was long before I could again 
call them cheap. To be sure the pleasure of a 
bright well-printed page ought to be quite lost 
sight of in the glowing, galloping, bewitching 
course that the imagination sets out upon with a 
new Waverley novel ; and so it was with me till I 
felt the want of it ; and then I am almost ashamed 
to confess how often, in turning the thin dusky 
pages, my poor earth-born spirit paused in its 
pleasure, to sigh for hot-pressed wire-wove. 



G () 



13-2 DOMESTIC MANNERS 



CHAPTER X. 

Removal to the country — Walk in the for eat — 
Equality, 

At length my wish of obtaining a house in the 
country was gratified. A very pretty cottage, the 
residence of a gentleman who was removing into 
to\A'n, for the convenience of his business as a 
lawyer, was to let, and I immediately secured it. 
It was situated in a little village about a mile and 
a half from the town, close to the foot of the hills 
formerly mentioned as the northern boundary of it 
We found ourselves much more comfortable here 
than in the city. The house was pretty and com- 
modious, our sitting-rooms were cool and airy; 
we had got rid of the detestable mosquitoes, and 
we had an ice-house that never failed. Besides 
all this, we had the pleasure of gathering our 
tomatoes from our own garden, and receiving our 
milk from our own cow. Our manner of life was 



OF THE AMEEICANS. 133 

infinitely more to my taste than before; it gave us 
all the privileges of rusticity, which are fully as 
incompatible with a residence in a little town of 
Western America as with a residence in London. 
We lived on terms of primaeval intimacy TN-ith our 
cow, for if we lay down on our lawn she did not 
scruple to take a sniff at the book we were read- 
ing, but then she gave us her own sweet breath in 
return. The verge of the cool-looking forest that 
rose opposite our windows was so near, that we 
often used it as an extra drawing-room, and there 
was no one to wonder if we went out with no other 
preparation than our parasols, carrying books and 
work enough to while away a long summer day in 
the shade ; the meadow that divided us from it 
was covered with a fine short grass, that continued 
for a little way under the trees, making a beautiful 
carpet, while sundry logs and stumps furnished 
our sofas and tables. But even this was not 
enough to satisfy us when we first escaped fi'om 
the city, and we determined upon having a day's 
enjoyment of the w^ildest forest scenery we could 
find. So we packed up books, albums, pencils, 
and sandwiches, and, despite a burning sun, 



134 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

dragged up a hill so steep that we sometimes 
fancied we could rest ourselves against it by only 
leaning forward a little. In panting and in groan- 
ing we reached the top, hoping to be refreshed by 
the purest breath of heaven ; but to have tasted 
the breath of heaven we must have climbed yet 
farther, even to the tops of the trees themselves, 
for we soon found that the air beneath them stinted 
not, nor ever had stirred, as it seemed to us, since 
first it settled there, so heavily did it weigh upon 
our lungs. 

Still we were determined to enjoy ourselves, and 
forward w^e went, crunching knee deep through 
aboriginal leaves, hoping to reach some spot less 
perfectly air-tight than our landing-place. Wearied 
with the fruitless search, we decided on reposing 
aw^hile on the trunk of a fallen tree; being all 
considerably exhausted, the idea of sitting down 
on this tempting log w^as conceived and executed 
simultaneously by the whole party, and the whole 
party sunk together through its treacherous surface 
into a mass of rotten rubbish that had formed part 
of the pith and marrow of the eternal forest a 
hundred years before. 



OF THE AMEKICANS. 135 

We were by no means the only sufferers by the 
accident ; frogs, lizards, locusts, katiedids, beetles, 
and hornets, had the whole of their various tene- 
ments disturbed, and testified their displeasure 
very naturally by annoying us as much as possible 
in return ; we were bit, we were stung, we were 
scratched ; and when, at last, we succeeded in 
raising ourselves from the venerable ruin, we pre- 
sented as woeful a spectacle as can well be ima- 
gined. We shook our (not ambrosial) garments, 
and panting with heat, stings, and vexation, moved 
a few paces from the scene of our misfortune, and 
again sat down ; but this time it was upon the 
solid earth. 

We had no sooner beg§n to " chew the cud" of 
the bitter fancy that had beguiled us to these 
mountain solitudes than a new annoyance assailed 
us. A cloud of mosquitoes gathered round, and 
while each sharp proboscis sucked our blood, they 
teased us with their humming chorus, till we lost 
all patience, and started again on our feet, pretty 
firmly resolved never to try the al fresco joys of 
an American forest again. The sun was now in 
its meridian splendour, but our homeward path 



136 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

was short, and down hill, so again packing up 
our preparations for felicity, we started homeward, 
or, more properly speaking, we started, for in 
looking for an agreeable spot in this dungeon 
forest we had advanced so far from the verge of 
the hill that we had lost all trace of the precise 
spot where we had entered it. Nothing was to be 
seen but multitudes of tall, slender, melancholy 
stems, as like as peas, and standing within a foot 
of each other. The ground, as far as the eye 
could reach (which certainly was not far), was 
covered with an unvaried bed of dried leaves ; no 
trace, no track, no trail, as Mr. Cooper would call 
it, gave us a hint which way to turn ; and having 
paused for a moment to meditate, we remembered 
that chance must decide for us at last, so we set 
forward, in no very good mood, to encounter new 
misfortunes. We walked about a quarter of a 
mile, and coming to a steep descent, we thought 
ourselves extremely fortunate, and began to scram- 
ble down, nothing doubting that it was the same 
we had scrambled up. In truth, nothing could be 
more like, but, alas I things that are like are not 
the same ; when we had slipped and stumbled 



OF THE AMERICANS. 137 

down to the edge of the wood, and were able to 
look beyond it, w^e saw no pretty cottage with the 
shadow of its beautiful acacias coming forward 
to meet us : all was different ; and, what was w^orse, 
all was distant from the spot where w^e had hoped 
to be. We had come down the opposite side of 
the ridge, and had now to win our weary way a 
distance of three miles round its base. I believe 
we shall none of us ever forget that walk. The 
bright, glowing, furnace-like heat of the atmo- 
sphere seems to scorch as I recal it. It was 
painful to tread, it was painful to breathe, it was 
painful to look round; every object glowed w^ith 
the reflection of the fierce tyrant that glared upon 
us from above. 

We got home alive, w^hich agreeably surprised 
us ; and when our parched tongues again found 
power of utterance, w^e promised each other faith- 
fully never to propose any more parties of pleasure 
in the grim store-like forests of Ohio. 

We were now^ in daily expectation of the arrival 
of Mr. T. ; but day after day, and week after week 
passed by, till we began to fear some untoward cir- 
cumstance might delay his coming till the Spring ; 



138 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

at last, when we had almost ceased to look out 
for him, on the road which led from the town, he 
arrived, late at night, by that which leads across 
the country from Pitzburgh. The pleasure we 
felt at seeing him was greatly increased by his 
bringing with him our eldest son, which was a 
happiness we had not hoped for. Our walks and 
our drives now became doubly interesting. The 
young men, fresh from a public school, found 
America so totally unlike all the nations with 
which their reading had made them acquainted, 
that it was indeed a new world to them. Had 
they visited Greece or Rome they would have 
encountered objects with whose images their minds 
had been long acquainted ; or had they travelled 
to France or Italy they would have seen only what 
daily conversation had already rendered familiar ; 
but at our public schools America (except perhaps 
as to her geographical position) is hardly better 
known than Fairy Land ; and the American cha- 
racter has not been much more deeply studied 
than that of the Anthropophagi : all, therefore, 
was new, and every thing amusing. 

The extraordinary familiarity of our poor neigh- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 139 

hours startled us at first, and we hardly knew how 
to receive their uncouth advances, or what was 
expected of us in return ; however, it sometimes 
produced very laughable scenes. Upon one occa- 
sion two of my children set off upon an exploring 
walk up the hills ; they were absent rather longer 
than we expected, and the rest of our party deter- 
mined upon going out to meet them ; we knew 
the direction they had taken, but thought it would 
be as well to enquire at a little public-house at 
the bottom of the hill, if such a pair had been 
seen to pass. A woman, whose appearance more 
resembled a Covent Garden market-woman than 
any thing else I can remember, came out and 
answered my question with the most jovial good 
humour in the affirmative, and prepared to join us 
in our search. Her look, her voice, her manner, 
were so exceedingly coarse and vehement, that 
she almost frightened me ; she passed her arm 
within mine, and to the inexpressible amusement 
of my yoimg people, she dragged me on, talking 
and questioning me without ceasing. She lived 
but a short distance from us, and I am sure in- 
tended to be a very good neighbour ; but her 



140 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

violent intimacy made me dread to pass her 
door ; my children, including my sons, she always 
addressed by their Christian names, excepting 
when she substituted the word " honey ;" this fami- 
liarity of address, howerer, I afterwards found was 
universal throughout all ranks in the United States. 
My general appellation amongst my neighbours 
was " the English old woman," but in mentioning 
each other they constantly employed the term 
" lady ;'' and they evidently had a pleasure in 
using it, for I repeatedly observed, that in speak- 
ing of a neighbour, instead of saying Mrs. Such-a- 
one, they described her as " the lady over the way 
what takes in washing," or as " that there lady, 
out by the Gulley, what is making dip-candles." 
Mr. Trollope was as constantly called " the old 
man," while draymen, butchers' boys, and the 
labourers on the canal were invariably denomi- 
nated " them gentlemen ;" nay, we once saw one 
of the most gentlemanlike men in Cincinnati in- 
troduce a fellow in dirty shirt sleeves, and all 
sorts of detestable et cetera, to one of his friends, 
with this formula, " D***** let me introduce this 
gentleman to you." 



OF THE AMERICANS. 141 

Our respective titles certainly were not very 
important; but the eternal shaking hands with 
these ladies and gentlemen was really an annoy- 
ance, and the more so, as the near approach of 
the gentlemen was always redolent of whiskey and 
tobacco. 

But the point where this republican equality 
was the most distressing was in the long and 
frequent visitations that it produced. No one 
dreams of fastening a door in AVestem America ; 
I was told that it would be considered as an affront 
by the whole neighbourhood. I was thus ex- 
posed to perpetual, and most vexatious interrup- 
tions from people whom I had often never seen, 
and whose names still oftener were unknown 
to me. 

Those who are native there, and to the manner 
born, seem to pass over these annoyances with 
more skill than I could ever acquire. More than 
once I have seen some of my acquaintance beset 
in the same way, without appearing at all dis- 
tressed by it ; they continued their employment or 
conversation with me, much as if no such inter- 
ruption had taken place ; when the visitor entered, 



142 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

they would say, ^* How do you do ?" and shake 
hands. 

"Tolerable, I thank ye, how be you?'' was the reply. 

If it was a female, she took off her hat ; if a 
male, he kept it on, and then taking possession 
of the first chair in their way, they would retain 
it for an hour together, without uttering another 
word ; at length, rising abruptly, they would again 
shake hands, with, " Well, now I must be going, 
I guess," and so take themselves off, apparently 
well contented with their reception. 

I could never attain this philosophical com- 
posure ; I could neither write nor read, and 
I always fancied I must talk to them. I will 
give the minutes of a conversation which I once 
set down after one of their visits, as a specimen of 
their tone and manner of speaking and thinking. 
My visitor was a milkman. 

" Well now, so you be from the old country ? 
Ay — you'll see sights here, I guess." 

" I hope I shall see many." 

" That's a fact. I expect your little place of 
an island don't grow such dreadful fine corn as you 
sees here .^" 



OF THE AMERICANS. 143 

" It grows no corn at all, sir^" 

" Possible ! no wonder, then, that we reads such 
awful stories in the papers of your poor people 
being starved to death." 

" We have wheat, however." 

^' Ay, for your rich folks, but I calculate the 
poor seldom gets a belly full." 

" You have certainly much greater abundance 
here." 

" I expect so. Why they do say, that if a poor 
body contrives to be smart enough to scrape toge- 
ther a few dollars, that your King George always 
comes down upon 'em, and takes it all away. 
Don't he ?" 

" I do not remember hearing of such a trans- 
action." 

" I guess they be pretty close about it. Your 
papers ben't like ourn, I reckon } Now we says 
and prints just what we likes." 

" You spend a good deal of time in reading the 
newspapers." 

" And I'd like you to tell me how we can spend 

1 Corn always means Indian corn, or niaize. 

13 



144 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

it better. How should freemen spend their time, 
but looking after their government, and watching 
that them fellers as we gives offices to, doos their 
duty, and gives themselves no airs ?" 

" But I sometimes think, sir, that your fences 
might be in more thorough repair, and your roads 
in better order, if less time was spent in politics." 

" The Lord ! to see how little you knows of a 
free country ? Why, what's the smoothness of a 
road, put against the freedom of a free-bom 
American ? And what does a broken zig-zag sig- 
nify, comparable to knowing that the men what 
we have been pleased to send up to Congress, 
speaks handsome and straight, as we chooses they 
should ?" 

" It is from a sense of duty, then, that you all go 
to the liquor store to read the papers ?"' 

" To be sure it is, and he'd be no true bom 
American as didn't. I don't say that the father of 
a family should always be after liquor, but I do 
say that I'd rather have my son drunk three times 
in a week, than not look after the affairs of his 
country." 

* * * if' * * * 



OF THE AMERICANS. 145 

Our autumn walks were delightful; tlie sun 
ceased to scorch ; the want of flowers was no 
longer peculiar to Ohio ; and the trees took a 
colouring, which in richness, brilliance, and variety, 
exceeded all description. I think it is the maple, 
or sugar-tree, that first sprinkles the forest with rich 
crimson ; the beech follows, with all its harmony 
of golden tints, fi'om pale yellow up to brightest 
orange. The dog-wood gives almost the purple 
colour of the mulberry ; the chesnut softens all 
with its fi-equent mass of delicate brown, and the 
sturdy oak carries its deep green into the very lap 
of winter. These tints are too bright for the 
landscape painter ; the attempt to follow nature 
in an American autumn scene must be abortive. 
The colours are in reality extremely brilliant, but 
the medium through which they are seen increases 
the effect surprisingly. Of all the points in which 
America has the advantage of England, the one I 
felt most sensibly was the clearness and bright- 
ness of the atmosphere. By day and by night 
this exquisite purity of air gives tenfold beauty to 
every object. I could hardly believe the stars 
were the same ; the Great Bear looked like a con- 

VOL. I. H 



146 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

stellation of suns ; and Jupiter justified all the 
fine things said of him in those beautifiil lines, 
from I know not what spirited pen, beginning, 

" I looked on thee, Jove ! till my gaze 
Shrunk, smote by the pow'r of thy blaze." 

I always remarked that the first silver line of the 
moon's crescent attracted the eye on the first day, 
in America, as strongly as it does here on the 
third. I observed another phenomenon in the 
crescent moon of that region, the cause of which I 
less understood. That appearance which Shak- 
spear describes as " the new moon, with the old 
moon in her lap," and which I have heard 
ingeniously explained as the effect of earth I'tglit^ 
was less visible there than here. 

Cuyp's clearest landscapes have an atmosphere 
that approaches nearer to that of America than 
any I remember on canvas ; but even Cuyp's 
air cannot reach the lungs, and, therefore, can 
only give an idea of half the enjoyment ; for it 
makes itself felt as well as seen, and is indeed a 
constant source of pleasure. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 147 

Our walks were, however, curtailed in several 
directions by my old Cincinnati enemies, the pigs ; 
immense droves of them were continually amving 
from the country by the road that led to most of 
our favourite walks ; they were often fed and 
lodged in the prettiest valleys, and worse still, 
were slaughtered beside the prettiest streams. 
Another evil threatened us from the same quarter, 
that was yet heavier. Our cottage had an ample 
piazza, (a luxury almost universal in the country 
houses of America), which, shaded by a group of 
acacias, made a delightful sitting-room ; fi'om this 
favourite spot we one day perceived symptoms of 
building in a field close to it ; with much anxiety 
we hastened to the spot, and asked what building 
was to be erected there. 

" 'Tis to be a slaughter-house for hogs," was the 
dreadful reply. As there were several gentlemen's 
houses in the neighbourhood, I asked if such an 
erection might not be indicted as a nuisance. 

" A what ?" 

" A nuisance," I repeated, and explained what 
I meant. 

" No, no," was the reply, " that may do very 
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148 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

well for your tyrannical country, where a rich 
man's nose is more thought of than a poor man's 
mouth ; but hogs be profitable produce here, and 
we be too free for such a law as that, I guess." 

During my residence in America, little circum- 
stances like the foregoing often recalled to my 
mind a conversation I once held in France with 
an old gentleman on the subject of their active 
police, and its omnipresent gens d'armerie ; " Croyez 
moi, Madame, il n'y a que ceux, a qui ils ont a 
faire, qui les trouvent de trop." And the old gen- 
tleman was right, not only in speaking of France, 
but of the whole human family, as philosophers 
call us. The well disposed, those whose own 
feeling of justice would prevent their annoying 
others, will never complain of the restraints of the 
law. All the freedom enjoyed in America, beyond 
what is enjoyed in England, is enjoyed solely by 
the disorderly at the expense of the orderly ; and 
were I a stout knight, either of the sword or of the 
pen, I would fearlessly throw down my gauntlet, 
and challenge the whole Republic to prove the 
contrary ; but being, as I am, a feeble looker on, 
\\-ith a needle for my spear, and " I talk ' for my 



OF THE AMERICANS. 149 

device, I must be contented with the power of 
stating the fact, perfectly certain that I shall be 
contradicted by one loud shout from Maine to 
Georgia. 



H 3 



150 DOMESTIC MANNERS 



CHAPTER XL 

Religion. 

I HAD often heard it observed before I visited 
America, that one of the great blessings of its con- 
stitution was the absence of a national religion, 
the country being thus exonerated from all obliga- 
tion of supporting the clergy ; those only con- 
tributing to do so whose principles led them to it. 
My residence in the country has shewn me that a 
religious tyranny may be exerted very effectually 
without the aid of the government, in a way much 
more oppressive than the paying of tithe, and 
without obtaining any of the salutary decorum, 
which I presume no one will deny is the result of 
an established mode of worship. 

As it was impossible to remain many weeks in 
the country without being struck with the strange 
anomalies produced by its religious system, my 



OF THE AMERICANS. 151 

early notes contain many observations on the sub- 
ject; but as nearly the same scenes recurred in 
every part of the country, I state them here, not as 
belonging to the west alone, but to the whole 
Union, the same cause producing- the same effect 
every where. 

The whole people appear to be divided into an 
almost endless variety of religious factions, and I 
was told, that to be well received in society, it 
was necessary to declai'e yourself as belonging 
to some one of these. Let your acknowledged 
belief be what it may, you are said to be not a 
Christian, unless you attach yourself to a parti- 
cular congregation. Besides the broad and well- 
known distinctions of Episcopalian, Catholic, 
Presbyterian, Calvinist, Baptist, Quaker, Sweden- 
borgian, Universalist, Dunker, &c. &c. &c.; there 
are innumerable others springing out of these, 
each of which assumes a church government of its 
own; of this, the most intriguing and factious 
individual is invariably the head ; and in order, as 
it should seem, to shew a reason for this separa- 
tion, each congregation invests itself with some 
queer variety of external observance that has the 
H 4 



15-2 DOM£:*STIC MANNERS 

melancholy effect of exposing all religious cere- 
monies to contempt. 

It is impossible, in witnessing all these unseemly 
vagaries, not to recognise the advantages of an 
established church as a sort of head-quarters 
for quiet unpresuming Christians, who are con- 
tented to serve faithfully, without insisting upon 
having each a little separate banner, embroidered 
with a device of their own imagining. 

The Catholics alone appear exempt from the 
fury of division and sub-division that has seized 
every other persuasion. Having the Pope for 
their common head, regulates, I presume, their 
movements, and prevents the outrageous display of 
individual whim which every other sect is per- 
mitted. 

I had the pleasure of being introduced to the 
Catholic bishop of Cincinnati, and have never 
known in any countiy a priest of a character and 
bearing more truly apostolic. He was an Ame- 
rican, but I should never have discovered it from 
his pronunciation or manner. He received his 
education partly in England, and partly in France. 
His manners were highly polished ; his piety 



OF THE AMERICANS. 153 

active and sincere, and infinitely more mild and 
tolerant than that of the factious Sectarians who 
form the great majority of the American priesthood. 
I believe I am sufficiently tolerant; but this 
does not prevent my seeing that the object of all 
religious observances is better obtained, when 
the government of the church is confided to the 
wisdom and experience of the most venerated 
among the people, than when it is placed in the 
hands of every tinker and tailor who chooses to 
claim a share in it. Nor is this the only evil 
attending the want of a national religion, supported 
by the State. As there is no legal and fixed pro- 
vision for the clergy, it is hardly surprising that 
their services are confined to those who can pay 
them. The vehement expressions of insane or 
hypocritical zeal, such as were exhibited during 
" the Revival," can but ill atone for the want of 
village worship, any more than the eternal talk of 
the admirable and unequalled government, can 
atone for the continual contempt of social order. 
Church and State hobble along, side by side, not- 
withstanding their boasted independence. Almost 
every man you meet will tell you, that he is occu- 
H 5 



154 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

pied in labours most abundant for the good of his 
country ; and ahnost every woman will tell you, 
that besides those things that are within (her 
house) she has coming upon her daily the care 
of all the churches. Yet spite of this universal 
attention to the government, its laws are half 
asleep ; and spite of the old women and their 
Dorcas societies, atheism is awake and thriving. 

In the smaller cities and towns prayer-meetings 
take the place of almost all other amusements ; 
but as the thinly scattered population of most 
villages can give no parties, and pay no priests, 
they contrive to marry, christen, and bury without 
them. A stranger taking up his residence in any 
city in America must think the natives the most 
religious people upon earth ; but if chance lead 
him among her western villages, he will rarely 
find either churches or chapels, prayer or preacher; 
except, indeed, at that most terrific saturnalia, " a 
camp-meeting." I was much struck with the 
answer of a poor woman, whom I saw ironing on 
a Sunday. '' Do you make no difference in your 
occupations on a Sunday ?" I said. " I beant a 
Christian, Ma'am; we have got no opportunity,' 



OF THE AMERICANS. 155 

was the reply. It occurred to me, that in a country 
wliere '' all men are equal," the government would 
be guilty of no great crime, did it so far interfere 
as to give them all an opportunity of becoming 
Christians if they wished it. But should the fe- 
deral govemmeftt dare to propose building a church, 
and endowing it, in some village that has never 
heard " the bringing home of bell and burial," it 
is perfectly certain that not only the sovereign 
state where such an abomination was proposed, 
would rush into the Congress to resent the odious 
interference, but that all the other states would 
join the clamour, and such an intermeddling ad- 
ministration would run great risk of impeachment 
and degradation. 

Where there is a church-government so con- 
stituted as to deserve human respect, I be- 
lieve it will alwaj's be found to receive it, even 
from those who may not assent to the dogma 
of its creed ; and where such respect exists, 
it produces a decorum in manners and lan- 
guage often found wanting where it does not. 
Sectarians will not venture to rhapsodise, nor 
infidels to scoff, in the common intercourse of 
H 6 



156 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

society. Both are injurious to the cause of 
rational religion, and to check both must be 
advantageous. 

It is certainly possible that some of the fanciful 
variations upon the ancient creeds of the Christian 
Church, with which transatlantic religionists 
amuse themselves, might inspire morbid imagina- 
tions in Europe as well as in America ; but before 
they can disturb the solemn harmony here, they 
must prelude by a defiance, not only to common 
sense, but what is infinitely more appalling, to 
common usage. They must at once rank them- 
selves with the low and the illiterate, for only such 
prefer the eloquence of the tub to that of the 
pulpit. The aristocracy must ever, as a body, 
belong to the established Church, and it is but a 
small proportion of the influential classes who 
would be willing to allow that they do not belong 
to the aristocracy. That such feelings influence 
the professions of men it were ignorance or hypo- 
crisy to deny ; and that nation is wise who knows 
how to turn even such feelings into a wholesome 
stream of popular influence. 

As a specimen of the tone in which religion is 



OF THE AMERICANS. 157 

mixed in the ordinary intercourse of society, I 
will transcribe the notes I took of a conversation, 
at which I w as present, at Cincinnati ; I wrote 
them immediately after the conversation took place. 

Dr. A. 

" I wish, Mrs. M., that you would explain to 
me what a revival is. I hear it talked of all over 
the city, and I know it means something about 
Jesus Christ and religion ; but that is all I know, 
will you instruct me farther ?" 

Mrs. M. 

" I expect. Dr. A., that you want to laugh at 
me. But that makes no difference. I am firm 
in my principles, and I fear no one's laughter." 

Dr. A. 

" Well, but what is a revival ?'' 

Mrs. M. 

'* It is diificult, very difficult, to make those 
see who have no light ; to make those understand 
whose souls are darkened. A revival means just 



158 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

an elegant kindling of the spirit ; it is brought 
about to the Lord's people by the hands of his 
saints, and it means salvation in the highest." 

Dr. A. 

" But what is it the people mean by talking of 
feeling the revival ? and waiting in spirit for the 
revival ? and the extacy of the revival ?" 

Mrs. M. 

" Oh Doctor ! I am afraid that you are too far 
gone astray to understand all that. It is a glo- 
rious assurance, a whispering of the everlasting 
covenant, it is the bleating of the lamb, it is the 
welcome of the shepherd, it is the essence of love, 
it is the fulness of glory, it is being in Jesus, it is 
Jesus being in us, it is taking the Holy Ghost 
into our bosoms, it is sitting ourselves down by 
God, it is being called to the high places, it is 
eating, and drinking, and sleeping in the Lord, it 
is becoming a lion in the faith, it is being lowly 
and meek, and kissing the hand that smites, it is 
being mighty and powerful, and scorning reproof, 
it is—" 



OF THE AMERICANS. 159 

Dr. A. 

^' Thank you, Mrs. M., I feel quite satisfied ; 
and I think I understand a revival now almost as 
well as you do yourself." 

Mrs. A. 

*' My ! Wliere can you have learnt all that 
stuff, Mrs M. ?" 

Mrs. M. 

" How benighted you are ! From the holy 
book, from the Word of the Lord, from the Holy 
Ghost, and Jesus Christ themselves." 

Mrs. A. 

'^ It does seem so droll to me, to hear you talk 
of ^ the Word of the Lord.' V/hy, I have been 
brought up to look upon the Bible as nothing 
better than an old newspaper." 

Mrs. O. 

" Surely you only say this for the sake of 
hearing what Mrs. M. will say in return — you 
do not mean it ?" 



160 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

Mrs. A. 

" La, yes ! to be sure 1 do." 

Dr. A. 

" I profess that I by no means ^ ish my wife to 
read all she might find there. — What says the 
Colonel, Mrs. M. ?" 

Mrs. M. 

" As to that, I never stop to ask him. I tell 
him every day that I believe in Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, and that it is his duty to believe in 
them too, and then my conscience is clear, and 
I don't care what he believes. Really, I have 
no notion of one's husband interfering in such 
matters." 

Dr. A. 

" You are quite right. I am sure I give my 
wife leave to believe just what she likes ; but she 
is a good woman, and does not abuse the liberty ; 
for she believes nothing." 

It was not once, nor twice, nor thrice, but many 



OF THE AMERICANS. 161 

many times, during my residence in America, that 
I was present when subjects which custom as well 
as principle had taught me to consider as fitter for 
the closet than the tea-table, were thus lightly 
discussed. I hardly know w^hether I was more 
startled at first hearing, in little dainty namby 
pamby tones, a profession of Atheism over a tea- 
cup, or at having my attention called from a Johnny 
cake, to a rhapsody on election and the second 
birth. 

But, notwithstanding this revolting license, 
persecution exists to a degree unknown, I believe, 
in our well-ordered land since the days of Crom- 
well. I had the following anecdote from a gentle- 
man perfectly well acquainted with the circum- 
stances. A tailor sold a suit of clothes to a sailor 
a few^ moments before he sailed, which was on a 
Sunday morning. The corporation of New York 
prosecuted the tailor, and he was convicted, and 
sentenced to a fine greatly beyond his means to 
pay. Mr. F., a lawyer of New York, defended him 
with much eloquence, but in vain. His powerful 
speech, however, was not without effect, for it 
raised him such a host of Presbyterian enemies as 



162 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

sufficed to destroy his practice. Nor was this all: 
his nephew was at the time preparing for the bar, 
and soon after the above circumstance occurred 
his certificates were presented, and refused, with 
this declaration, " that no man of the name and 
family of F. should be admitted." I have met 
this young man in society; he is a person of very 
considerable talent, and being thus ciiielly robbed 
of his profession, has become the editor of a news- 
paper. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 163 



CHAPTER XII. 

Peasantry, compared to that of England — 
Early marriages — Charity — hidependence 
and equality— Cottage prayer -meeting. 

Mohawk, as our little village was called, gave us 
an excellent opportunity of comparing the pea- 
sants of the United States with those of England, 
and of judging the average degree of comfort en- 
joyed by each. I beUeve Ohio gives as fair a 
specimen as any part of the Union ; if they have 
the roughness and inconveniences of a new state 
to contend with, they have higher wages and 
cheaper provisions ; if I err in supposing it a mean 
state in point of comfort, it certainly is not in 
taking too low a standard. 

Mechanics, if good workmen, are certain of 
employment, and good wages, rather higher than 
with us ; the average wages of a labourer through- 
out the Union is ten dollars a month, with lodging, 



164 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

boarding, washing, and mending ; if he lives at 
his own expense he has a dollar a day. It ap- 
pears to me that the necessaries of life, that is to 
say, meat, bread, butter, tea, and coffee, (not to 
mention whiskey), are within the reach of every 
sober, industrious, and healthy man who chooses 
to have them; and yet I think that an English 
peasant, with the same qualifications, would, in 
coming to the United States, change for the worse. 
He would find wages somewhat higher, and pro- 
visions in Western America considerably lower ; 
but this statement, true as it is, can lead to nothing 
but delusion if taken apart from other facts, fully 
as certain, and not less important, but which re- 
quire more detail in describing, and which per- 
haps cannot be fully comprehended, except by an 
eye-witness. The American poor are accustomed 
to eat meat three times a day ; I never enquired 
into the habits of any cottagers in Western Ame- 
rica, where this was not the case. T found after- 
wards in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and other parts 
of the country, where the price of meat was higher, 
that it was used with more economy ; yet still a 
much larger portion of the weekly income is thus 



OF THE AMEEICANS. 165 

expended than with us. Ardent sphits, though 
lamentably cheap *, still cost something, and the 
use of them among the men, with more or less of 
discretion, according to the character, is universal. 
Tobacco also grows at their doors, and is not 
taxed ; yet this too costs something, and the air of 
heaven is not in more general use among the men 
of America, than chewing tobacco. I am not now 
pointing out the evils of dram-drinking, but it is 
evident, that where this practice prevails uni- 
versally, and often to the most frightful excess, the 
consequence must be, that the money spent to 
obtain the dram is less than the money lost by the 
time consumed in drinking it. Long, disabling, 
and expensive fits of sickness are incontestably 
more frequent in every part of America, than in 
England, and the sufferers have no aid to look to, 
but what they have saved, or what they may be 
enabled to sell. I have never seen misery exceed 
what I have witnessed in an American cottage 
where disease has entered. 



* About a shilling a gallon is the retail price of good whiskey. 
If bought wholesale, or of inferior quality, it is much cheaper. 

13 



166 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

But if the condition of the labourer be not 
superior to that of the English peasant, that of his 
wife and daughters is incomparably worse. It is 
they who are indeed the slaves of the soil. One 
has but to look at the wife of an American cot- 
tager, and ask her age, to be convinced that the life 
she leads is one of hardship, privation, and labour. 
It is rare to see a woman in this station who has 
reached the age of thirty, without losing every 
trace of youth and beauty. You continually see 
women with infants on their knee, that you feel 
sure are their grand-children, till some convincing 
proof of the contrary is displayed. Even the 
young girls, though often with lovely features, 
look pale, thin, and haggard. I do not remember 
to have seen in any single instance among the 
poor, a specimen of the plump, rosy, laughing 
physiognomy so common among our cottage girls. 
The horror of domestic service, which the reality 
of slavery, and the fable of equality, have generated, 
excludes the young women from that sure and 
most comfortable resource of decent English girls; 
and the consequence is, that with a most irre- 
verend freedom of manner to the parents, the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 167 

daughters are, to the full extent of the word, do- 
mestic slaves. This condition, which no periodical 
merry-making, no village /'^^^, ever occurs to cheer, 
is only changed for the still sadder burdens of a 
teeming wife. They marry very young ; in fact, 
in no rank of life do you meet with young women 
in that delightful period of existence between 
childhood and mamage, wherein, if only tolerably 
well spent, so much useful information is gained, 
and the character takes a sufficient degree of firm- 
ness to support with dignity the more important 
parts of wife and mother. The slender, childish 
thing, without vigour of mind or body, is made to 
stem a sea of troubles that dims her young eye 
and makes her cheek grow pale, even before nature 
has given it the last beautiful finish of the full- 
grown woman. 

" We shall get along," is the answer in full, for 
all that can be said in way of advice to a boy and 
girl who take it into their heads to go before a 
magistrate and *' get married." And they do get 
along, till sickness overtakes them, by means per- 
haps of borrowing a kettle from one and a tea-pot 
from another ; but intemperance, idleness, or sick- 



168 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

iiess will, in one week, plunge those who are even 
getting along well, into utter destitution ; and 
where this happens, they are completely without 
resource. 

The absence of poor-laws is, without doubt, a 
blessing to the country, but they have not that 
natural and reasonable dependence on the richer 
classes which, in countries differently constituted, 
may so well supply their place. I suppose there 
is less alms-giving in America than in any other 
Christian country on the face of the globe. It is 
not in the temper of the people either to give or to 
receive. 

I extract the following pompous passage from 
a Washington paper of Feb. 1829, (a season of 
uncommon severity and distress,) which, I think, 
justifies my observation. 

" Among the liberal evidences of sympathy for 
the suffering poor of this city, two have come to 
our knowledge which deserve to be especially no- 
ticed: the one a donation by the President of the 
United States to the committee of the ward in 
which he resides of fifty dollars ; the other the 
donation by a few of the officers of the war depart- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 169 

ment to the Howard and Dorcas Societies, of 
seventy-two dollars." When such mention is 
made of a gift of about nine pounds sterling from 
the sovereign magistrate of the United States, and 
of thirteen pounds sterling as a contribution from 
one of the state departments, the inference is 
pretty obvious, that the sufferings of the destitute 
in America are not liberally relieved by individual 
charity. 

I had not been three days at Mohawk-cottage 
before a pair of ragged children came to ask for 
medicine for a sick mother; and when it was 
given to them, the eldest produced a handful of 
cents, and desired to know what he was to pay. 
The superfluous milk of our cow was sought after 
eagerly, but every new comer always proposed to 
pay for it. When they found out that " the English 
old woman" did not sell any thing, I am persuaded 
they by no means liked her the better for it ; but 
they seemed to think, that if she were a fool it 
was no reason they should be so too, and accord- 
ingly the borrowing, as they called it, became very 
constant, but always in a form that shewed their 
dignity and freedom. One woman sent to borrow 

VOL. I. I 



170 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

a pound of cheese; another half a pound of coffee ; 
and more than once an intimation accompanied 
the milk-jug, that the milk must be fresh, and un- 
skimmed : on one occasion the messenger refused 
milk, and said, " Mother only wanted a little 
cream for her coffee." 

I could never teach them to believe, during 
above a year that I lived at this house, that I 
would not sell the old clothes of the family ; and 
so pertinacious were they in bargain-making, that 
often, when I had given them the articles which 
they wanted to purchase, they would say, " Well, 
T expect I shall have to do a turn of work for this; 
you may send for me when you want me." But 
as I never did ask for the turn of work, and as 
this formula was constantly repeated, I began to 
suspect that it was spoken solely to avoid ut- 
tering that most un-American phrase " I thank 
you." 

There Avas one man whose progress in wealth I 
watched with much interest and pleasure. When 
I first became his neighbour, himself, his wife, 
and four children, were living in one room, with 
plenty of beef-steaks and onions for breakfast, 



OF THE AMERICANS. 171 

dinner, and supper, but with very few other com- 
forts. He was one of the finest men I ever saw, 
full of natural intelligence and activity of mind 
and body, but he could neither read nor write. He 
drank but little whiskey, and but rarely chewed 
tobacco, and was therefore more free from that 
plague spot of spitting which rendered male col- 
loquy so difficult to endure. He worked for us 
frequently, and often used to walk into the draw- 
ing-room and seat himself on the sofa, and tell me 
all his plans. He made an engagement with the 
proprietor of the wooded hill before mentioned, 
by which half the wood he could fell was to be 
his own. His unwearied industry made this a 
profitable bargain, and from the proceeds he pur- 
chased the materials for building a comfortable 
irame (or wooden) house ; he did the work almost 
entirely himself. He then got a job for cutting 
rails, and, as he could cut twice as many in a day 
as any other man in the neighbourhood, he made 
a good thing of it. He then let half his pretty 
house, which was admirably constructed, with an 
ample portico, that kept it always cool. His next 
step was contracting for the building a wooden 
I 2 



17-2 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

bridge, and when I left Mohawk he had fitted up 
his half of the building as an hotel and grocery 
store ; and I have no doubt that every sun that 
sets sees him a richer man than when it rose. He 
hopes to make his son a lawyer, and I have little 
doubt that he will live to see him sit in congress ; 
when this time arrives, the wood-cutter's son will 
rank with any other member of congress, not of 
courtesy, but of right, and the idea that his origin 
is a disadvantage, will never occur to the imagina- 
tion of the most exalted of his fellow-citizens. 

This is the only feature in American society 
that I recognise as indicative of the equality they 
profess. Any man's son may become the equal 
of any other man's son, and the consciousness of 
this is certainly a spur to exertion ; on the other 
hand, it is also a spur to that coarse familiarity, 
untempered by any shadow of respect, which is 
assumed by the grossest and the lowest in their 
intercourse with the highest and most refined. 
This is a positive evil, and, I think, more than 
balances its advantages. 

And here again it may be observed, that the 
theory of equality may be very daintily discussed 



OF THE AMERICANS. 173 

by English gentlemen in a London dining-room, 
when the servant, having placed a fresh bottle of 
cool wine on the table, respectfully shuts the 
door, and leaves them to their walnuts and their 
wisdom ; but it will be found less palatable when 
it presents itselt in the shape of a hard, greasy 
paw, and is claimed in accents that breathe less 
of freedom than of onions and whiskey. Strong, 
indeed, must be the love of equality in an Eng- 
lish breast if it can survive a tour through the 
Union. 

There was one house in the village which was 
remarkable from its wretchedness. It had an air 
of mdecent poverty about it, which long prevented 
my attempting an entrance ; but at length, upon 
being told that I could get chicken and eggs there 
whenever I wanted them, I determined upon ven- 
turing. The door being opened to my knock, I 
very nearly abandoned my almost blunted pur- 
pose ; I never beheld such a den of filth and 
misery : a woman, the very image of dirt and 
disease, held a squalid imp of a baby on her hip 
bone while she kneaded her dough with her right 
fist only. A great lanky girl, of twelve years old, 
I 3 



174 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

was sitting on a barrel, gnawing a corn cob ; 
when I made known mj business, the woman 
answered, " No, not I ; I got no chickens to sell, 
nor eggs neither ; but my son will, plenty I expect. 
Here, Nick," (bawling at the bottom of a ladder), 
" here's an old woman what wants chickens.'' 
Half a moment brought Nick to the bottom of the 
ladder, and I found my merchant was one of a 
ragged crew, w^hom I had been used to observe in 
my daily walk, playing marbles in the dust, and 
swearing lustily ; he looked about ten years old. 
" Have you chicken to sell, my boy ?" 
" Yes, and eggs too, more nor what you'll buy." 
Having enquired price, condition, and so on, I 
recollected that I had been used to give the same 
price at market, the feathers plucked, and the 
chicken prepared for the table, and I told him that 
he ought not to charge the same. 

" Oh for that, I expect I can fix 'em as w^ell as 
ever them was, what you got in market." 
'' You fix them ?'' 
'' Yes to be sure, why not ?'' 
^' I thought you were too fond of marbles." 
He gave me a keen glance, and said, " You 



OF THE AMERICANS. 175 

don't know I. — When will you be wanting the 
chickens ?" 

He brought them at the time directed, extremely 
well " fixed," and I often dealt with him after- 
wards. When I paid him, he always thrust 
his hand into his breeches pocket, which I pre- 
sume, as being the Jceep, was fortified more strongly 
than the dilapidated outworks, and drew from 
thence rather more dollars, half-dollars, levies, and 
fips, than his dirty little hand could well hold. 
My curiosity was excited, and though I felt an 
involuntary disgust towards the young Jew, 1 
repeatedly conversed with him. 

" You are very rich, Nick," I said to him one 
day, on his making an ostentatious display of 
change, as he called it ; he sneered w ith a most 
unchildish expression of countenance, and replied, 
" I guess 'tw^ould be a bad job for I, if that was all 
rd got to shew." 

I asked him how he managed his business. He 
told me that he bought eggs by the hundred, and 
lean chicken by the score, from the waggons that 
passed their door on the way to market ; that he 
fatted the latter in coops he had made himself, 
I 4 



176 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

and could easily double their price, and that his 
eggs answered well too, when he sold them out by 
the dozen. 

" And do you give the money to your mother ?" 

" I expect not," was the answer, with another 
sharp glance of his ugly blue eyes. 

" What do you do with it, Nick ?" 

His look said plainly, what is that to you ? but 
he only answered, quaintly enough, " I takes care 
of it." 

How Nick got his lirst dollar is very doubtful ; 
I was told that when he entered the village store, 
the person serving always called in another pair 
of eyes ; but having obtained it, the spirit, activity, 
and industry, with which he caused it to increase 
and multiply, would have been delightful in one of 
Miss Edgeworth's dear little clean bright-looking 
boys, who would have carried all he got to his 
mother ; but in Nick it was detestable. No human 
feeling seemed to warm his young heart, not even 
the love of self-indulgence, for he was not only 
ragged and dirty, but looked considerably more 
than half starved, and I doubt not his dinners and 
suppers half fed his fat chickens. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 177 

I by no means give this history of Nick, the 
chicken merchant, as an anecdote characteristic 
in all respects of America; the only part of the 
story which is so, is the independence of the little 
man, and is one instance out of a thousand, of the 
hard, dry, calculating character that is the result 
of it. Probably Nick will be very rich; perhaps 
he will be President. I once got so heartily 
scolded for saying, that I did not think all Ame- 
rican citizens were equally eligible to that office, 
that I shall never again venture to doubt it. 

Another of our cottage acquaintance was a 
market-gardener, from whom we frequently bought 
vegetables ; from the wife of this man we one day 
received a very civil invitation to " please to come 
and pass the evening with them in prayer." The 
novelty of the circumstance, and its great dis- 
similarity to the ways and manners of our own 
country, induced me to accept the invitation, and 
also to record the visit here. 

We were received with great attention, and 
a place was assigned us on one of the benches 
that surrounded the little parlour. Several per- 
sons, looking like mechanics and their wives, were 
I 5 



178 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

present ; every one sal in profound silence, and 
with that quiet subdued air, that serious people 
assume on entering a church. At length, a long, 
black, grim-looking man entered; his dress, the 
cut of his hair, and his whole appearance, strongly 
recalled the idea of one of Cromwell's fanatics. 
He stepped solemnly into the middle of the room, 
and took a chair that stood there, but not to sit 
upon it; he turned the back towards him, on 
which he placed his hands, and stoutly uttering a 
sound between a hem and a cough, he deposited 
freely on either side of him a considerable portion 
of masticated tobacco. He then began to preach. 
His text was " Live in hope," and he continued 
to expound it for two hours in a drawling, nasal 
tone, with no other respite than what he allowed 
himself for expectoration. If I say that he re- 
peated the words of his text a hundred times, I 
think I shall not exceed the truth, for that allows 
more that a minute for each repetition, and in fact 
the whole discourse was made U}) of it The vari- 
ous tones in which he uttered it might have served 
as a lesson on emphasis ; as a question — in accents 
of triumph — in accents of despair — of pity — of 



OF THE AMERICANS. 179 

threatening — of authority — of doubt — of hope — of 
faith. Having exhausted every imaginable variety 
of tone, he abruptly said, " Let us pray," and 
twisting his chair round, knelt before it. Every 
one knelt before the seat they had occupied, and 
listened for another half hour to a rant of miserable, 
low, familiar jargon, that he presumed to wiprovhe 
to his Maker as a prayer. In this, however, the 
cottage apostle only followed the example set by 
every preacher throughout the Union, excepting 
those of the Episcopalian and Catholic congrega- 
tions ; iliey only do not deem themselves pri- 
vileged to address the Deity in strains of crude 
and unweighed importunity. These ranters may 
sometimes be very much in earnest, but surely the 
least we can say of it is, that they 

" Praise their God amiss." 

I enquired afterwards of a friend, well acquainted 
with such matters, how the grim preacher of 
" Hope" got paid for his labours, and he told me 
that the trade was an excellent one, for that many 
a gude wife bestowed more than a tithe of what 
I 6 



180 DOMESTIC MAN>^ERS 

her glide man trusted to her keeping, in rewarding 
the zeal of these self-chosen apostles. These sable 
ministers walk from house to house, or if the dis- 
tance be considerable, ride on a comfortable 
ambling nag. They are not only as empty as 
wind, but resemble it in other particulars ; for 
they blow where they list, and no man knoweth 
w^hence they come, nor whither they go. When 
they see a house that promises comfortable lodging 
and entertainment, they enter there, and say to 
the good woman of the house, " Sister, shall I 
pray with you ?" If the ansv/er be favourable, and 
it is seldom otherwise, he instals himself and his 
horse till after breakfast the next morning. The 
best meat, drink, and lodging are his, while he 
stays, and he seldom departs without some little 
contribution in money for the support of the cru- 
cified and suffering church. Is it not strange that 
" the most intelligent people in the world " should 
prefer such a religion as this, to a form established 
by the wisdom and piety of the ablest and best 
among the erring sons of men, solemnly sanctioned 
by the nation's law^, and rendered sacred by the 
use of their fathers ? 



OF THE AMERICANS. 181 

It would be well for all reasoners on the social 
system to observe steadily, and with an eye ob- 
soured by no beam of prejudice, the result of the 
experiment that is making on the other side of the 
Atlantic. If I mistake not, they might learn there, 
better than by any abstract speculation, what are 
the points on which the magistrates of a great 
people should dictate to them, and on what points 
they should be left freely to their own guidance. 
I sincerely believe, that if a fire-worshipper, or an 
Indian Brahmin, were to come to the United 
States, prepared to preach and pray in English, 
he would not be long without a " very respectable 
congregation." 

The influence of a religion, sanctioned by the 
government, could in no country, in the nine- 
teenth century, interfere with the speculations of a 
philosopher in his closet, but it might, and must, 
steady the weak and wavering opinions of the 
multitude. There is something really pitiable in 
the eff'ect produced by the want of this rudder 
oar. I knew a family where one was a Methodist, 
one a Presbyterian, and a third a Baptist ; and 
another, where one was a Quaker, one a declared 



182 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

Atheist, and anotlier an Universalist. These are 
all females, and all moving in the best society that 
America affords ; but one and all of them as inca- 
pable of reasoning on things past, present, and to 
come, as the infants they nom-ish, yet one and 
all of them perfectly fit to move steadily and use- 
fully in a path marked out for them. But I shall 
be called an itinerant preacher myself if I pursue 
this theme. 

As I have not the magic power of my admirable 
friend, Miss Mitford, to give grace and interest to 
the humblest rustic details, I must not venture to 
linger among the cottages that surrounded us; 
but before I quit them I must record the pleasing 
recollection of one or two neighbours of more 
companionable rank, fi'om whom I received so 
much friendly attention, and such unfailing kind- 
ness, in all my little domestic embarrassments, 
that I shall never recall the memory of Mohawk, 
without paying an affectionate tribute to these far 
distant Mends. I wish it were within the range 
of hope, that T might see them again, in my own 
country, and repay, in part, the obligations I owe 
them. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 183 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Theatre — Fine Arts — Delicacy — Shaking Quakers 
— Big-Bone Lick — Visit of the President. 

The theatre at Cincinnati is small, and not very 
brilliant in decoration, but in the absence of every 
other amusement our young men frequently at- 
tended it, and in the bright clear nights of autumn 
and winter, the mile and a half of distance was 
not enough to prevent the less enterprising mem- 
bers of the family from sometimes accompanying 
them. The great inducement to this was the ex- 
cellent acting of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Drake \ 
the managers. Nothing could be more distinct 
than their line of acting, but the great versatility 
of their powers enabled them often to appear toge- 
ther. Her cast was the highest walk of tragedy, 

1 Mr. Drake was an Englishman. 



184 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

and his the broadest comedy ; but vet, as Gold- 
smith says of his sister heroines, 1 have known 
them change characters for a whole evening toge- 
ther, and have wept with him and laughed with 
her, as it was their will and pleasure to ordain. 
I think in his comedy he was superior to any 
actor I ever saw in the same parts, except Emery. 
Alexander Drake's comedy was like that of the 
French, who never appear to be acting at all ; he 
was himself the comic being the author aimed at 
depicting. Let him speak whose words he would, 
from Shakspeare to Colman, it w^as impossible not 
to feel that half the fun was his own ; he had, too, 
in a very high degree, the power that Fawcett 
possessed, of drawing tears by a sudden touch of 
natural feeling. His comic songs might have 
set the gravity of the judges and bishops together 
at defiance. Liston is great, but Alexander Drake 
was greater. 

Mrs. Drake, formerly Miss Denny, greatly re- 
sembles Miss O'Neil ; a proof of this is, that Mr. 
Kean, who had heard of the resemblance, arrived 
at New York late in the evening, and having 
repaired to the theatre, saw her for the first time 



OF THE AMERICANS. 



185 



across the stage, and immediately exclaimed, 
" that's Miss Denny." Her voice, too, has the 
same rich and touching tones, and is superior in 
power. Her talent is decidedly first-rate. Deep 
and genuine feeling, correct judgment, and the 
most perfect good taste, distinguish her play in 
every character. Her last act of Belvidera is 
superior in tragic effect to any thing I ever saw on 
the stage, the one great exception to all compari- 
son, Mrs. Siddons, being set aside. 

It was painful to see these excellent performers 
playing to a miserable house, not a third full, and 
the audience probably not including half a dozen 
persons who would prefer their playing to that 
of the vilest strollers. In proof of this, I saw 
them, as managers, give place to paltry third-rate 
actors from London, who would immediately draw 
crowded houses, and be overwhelmed with ap- 
plause. 

Poor Drake died just before we left Ohio, and 
his wife, who, besides her merit as an actress, is a 
most estimable and amiable woman, is left with a 
large family. I have little, or rather no doubt, of 
her being able to obtain an excellent engagement 



186 DO:\JESTIC MANNERS 

in London, but her having properly in several of 
the Western theatres will, I fear, detain her in 
a neighbourhood, where she is neither imderstood 
nor appreciated. She told me many very excel- 
lent professional anecdotes collected during her 
residence in the West ; one of these particularly 
amused me as a specimen of Western idiom. A 
lady who professed a great admiration for Mrs. 
Drake had obtained her permission to be present 
upon one occasion at her theatrical toilet. She 
was dressing for some character in which she was 
to stab herself, and her dagger was lying on the 
table. The visitor took it up, and examining it 
with much emotion, exclaimed, " What ! do you 
really jab this into yourself sevagarous?" 

We also saw the great American star, Mr. 
Forrest. What he may become I will not pretend 
to prophesy; but when I saw him play Hamlet at 
Cincinnati, not even Mrs. Drake's sweet Ophelia 
could keep me beyond the third act. It is true that 
I have seen Kemble, Macready, Kean, Young, C. 
Kemble, Cook, and Talma play Hamlet, and I might 
not, perhaps, be a very fair judge of this young 
actor's merits ; but I was greatly amused when a 



OF THE AMERICANS. 187 

gentleman, who asked my opinion of him, told 
me upon hearing it, that he would not advise 
me to state it freely in America, " for they would 
not bear it." 

The theatre was really not a bad one, though 
the very poor receipts rendered it impossible to 
keep it in high order ; but an annoyance infinitely 
greater than decorations indifferently clean, was 
the style and manner of the audience. Men came 
into the lower tier of boxes without their coats ; 
and I have seen shirt sleeves tucked up to the 
shoulder ; the spitting was incessant, and the 
mixed smell of onions and whiskey was enough 
to make one feel even the Drakes' acting dearly 
bought by the obligation of enduring its accom- 
paniments. The bearing and attitudes of the men 
are perfectly indescribable ; the heels thrown 
higher than the head, the entire rear of the person 
presented to the audience, the whole length sup- 
ported on the benches, are among the varieties 
that these exquisite posture-masters exhibit. The 
noises, too, were perpetual, and of the most un- 
pleasant kind ; the applause is expressed by cries 
and thumping with the feet, instead of clapping ; 



188 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

and when a patriotic fit seized them, and " Yankee 
Doodle" was called for, every man seemed to 
think his reputation as a citizen depended on 
the noise he made. 

Two very indifferent figurantes, probably from 
the Ambigu Comique, or la Gaiete, made their 
appearance at Cincinnati while we were there ; 
and had Mercury stepped down, and danced a 
pas seul upon earth, his godship could not have 
produced a more violent sensation. But wonder 
and admiration were by no means the only feelings 
excited ; horror and dismay were produced in at 
least an equal degree. No one, I believe, doubted 
their being admirable dancers, but every one 
agreed that the morals of the Western world would 
never recover the shock. When T was asked if I 
had ever seen any thing so dreadful before, I was 
embarrassed how to answer ; for the young women 
had been exceedingly careful, both in their dress 
and in their dancing, to meet the taste of the 
people ; but had it been Virginie in her most trans- 
parent attire, or Taglioni in her most remarkable 
pirouette, they could not have been more repro- 
bated. The ladies altogether forsook the theatre ; 



OF THE AMERICANS. 189 

the gentlemen muttered under their breath, and 
turned their heads aside when the subject was 
mentioned ; the clergy denounced them from the 
pulpit ; and if they were named at the meetings 
of the saints, it was to show how deep the horror 
such a theme could produce. I could not but 
ask myself if virtue were a plant, thriving under 
one form in one country, and flourishing under a 
difierent one in another ? If these Western Ame- 
ricans are right, then how dreadfully wrong are 
we ! It is really a very puzzling subject. 

But this was not the only point on which I 
found my notions of right and wrong utterly con- 
founded ; hardly a day passed in which I did not 
discover that something or other that I had been 
taught to consider lawful as eating, was held in 
abhon'ence by those around me ; many words to 
which I had never heard an objectionable meaning 
attached, were totally interdicted, and the strangest 
paraphrastic sentences substituted. I confess it 
struck me, that notwithstanding a general stiff- 
ness of manner, which I think must exceed that of 
the Scribes and Pharisees, the Americans have 
imaginations that kindle with alarming facility. 



190 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

I could give many anecdotes to prove this, but 
will content myself with a few. 

A yoimg German gentleman of perfectly good 
manners, once came to me greatly chagrined at 
having offended one of the principal families in 
the neighbourhood, by having pronounced the 
word corset before the ladies of it. An old 
female friend had kindly overcome her own feel- 
ings so far as to mention to him the cause of the 
coolness he had remarked, and strongly advised 
his making an apology. He told me that he was 
perfectly w^ell disposed to do so, but felt himself 
greatly at a loss how to word it. 

An English lady who had long kept a fashion- 
able boarding-school in one of the Atlantic cities, 
told me that one of her earliest cares with every 
new comer, was the endeavour to substitute real 
delicacy for this affected precision of manner ; 
among many anecdotes, she told me one of a young 
lady about fourteen, who on entering the receiving 
room, where she only expected to see a lady who 
had enquired for her, and finding a young man with 
her, put her hands before her eyes, and ran out of 
the room again, screaming " A man ! a man ! a man !'* 
13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 191 

On another occasion, one of the young ladies in 
going up stairs to the drawing-room, unfortunately 
met a boy of fourteen coming down, and her feel- 
ings were so violently agitated, that she stopped 
panting and sobbing, nor would pass on till the 
boy had swung himself up on the upper banisters, 
to leave the passage free. 

At Cincinnati there is a garden where the 
people go to eat ices, and to look at roses. For 
the preservation of the flowers, there is placed at 
the end of one of the walks a sign-post sort of 
daub, representing a Swiss peasant girl, holding 
in her hand a scroll, requesting that the roses 
might not be gathered. Unhappily for the artist, 
or for the proprietor, or for both, the petticoat 
of this figure was so short as to shew her ancles. 
The ladies saw, and shuddered ; and it was formally 
intimated to the proprietor, that if he wished for 
the patronage of the ladies of Cincinnati, he must 
have the petticoat of this figure lengthened. The 
affiighted purveyor of ices sent off an express for 
the artist and his paint pot. He came, but un- 
luckily not provided with any colour that would 
match the petticoat ; the necessity, however, was 



192 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

too urgent for delay, and a flounce of blue was 
added to the petticoat of red, giving bright and 
shining evidence before all men of the immaculate 
delicacy of the Cincinnati ladies. 

I confess I was sometimes tempted to suspect 
that this ultra refinement was not very deep seated. 
It often appeared to me like the consciousness of 
grossness, that wanted a veil ; but the veil was 
never gracefully adjusted. Occasionally, indeed, 
the very same persons who appeared ready to faint 
at the idea of a statue, would utter some unac- 
countable sally that was quite startling, and which 
made me feel that the indelicacy of which we were 
accused had its limits. The following anecdote 
is hardly fit to tell, but it explains what I mean too 
well to be omitted. 

A young married lady, of high standing and 
most fastidious dehcacy, who had been brought up 
at one of the Atlantic seminaries of highest re- 
putation, told me that her house, at the distance 
of half a mile from a populous city, was unfor- 
tunately opposite a mansion of worse than doubtful 
reputation. " It is abominable," she said, " to 
see the peojde that go there ; they ought to be ex- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 193 

posed. I and another lady, an intimate friend of 
mine, did make one of them look foolish enough 
last summer : she was passing the day with me, 
and, while we were sitting at the window, we saw 
a young man we both knew ride up there, we went 
into the garden and w^atched at the gate for him 
to come back, and when he did, we both stepped 
out, and I said to him, ' Are you not ashamed, 
Mr. WiUiam D., to ride by my house and back 
again in that manner?' I never saw a man look 
so foolish !" 

In conversing vnih. ladies on the customs and 
manners of Europe, I remarked a strong propensity 
to consider every thing as wrong to which they 
were not accustomed. 

I once mentioned to a young lady that I thought 
a pic-nic party would be very agreeable, and that 
I would propose it to some of our friends. She 
agreed that it would be delightful, but she added, 
" I fear you will not succeed ; we are not used to 
such sort of things here, and I know it is con- 
sidered very indelicate for ladies and gentlemen 
to sit down together on the grass." 

I could multiply anecdotes of this nature ; but 
yoL. I. K 



194 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

I think these sufficient to give an accurate idea of 
the tone of manners in this particular, and I trust 
to justify the observations I have made. 

One of the spectacles which produced the greatest 
astonishment on us all was the Republican simpli- 
city of the courts of justice. We had heard that 
the judges indulged themselves on the bench in 
those extraordinary attitudes which, doubtless, 
some peculiarity of the American formation leads 
them to find the most comfortable. Of this we were 
determined to judge for ourselves, and accord- 
ingly entered the court when it was in full busi- 
ness, with three judges on the bench. The annexed 
sketch will better describe what we saw than any 
thing I can write. 

Our winter passed rapidly away, and pleasantly 
enough, by the help of frosty walks, a little skait- 
ing, a visit to Big-Bone Lick, and a visit to the 
shaking Quakers, a good deal of chess, and a good 
deal of reading, notwithstanding we were almost 
in the back woods of Western America. 

The excm'sion to Big-Bone Lick, in Kentucky, 
and that to the Quaker village, were too fatiguing 
for females at such a season, but our gentlemen 
13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 195 

brought us home mammoth bones and shaking 
Quaker stories in abundance. 

These singular people, the shaking Quakers of 
America, give undeniable proof that communities 
may exist and prosper, for they have continued 
for many years to adhere strictly to this manner of 
life, and have been constantly increasing in wealth. 
They have formed two or three different societies 
in distant parts of the Union, all governed by the 
same general laws, and all uniformly prosperous 
and flourishing. 

There must be some sound and wholesome 
principle at work in these establishments to cause 
their success in every undertaking, and this prin- 
ciple must be a powerful one, for it has to combat 
much that is absurd and much that is mis- 
chievous. 

The societies are generally composed of about 
an equal proportion of males and females, many 
of them being men and their wives ; but they are 
all bound by their laws not to cohabit together. 
Their religious observances are wholly confined to 
singing and dancing of the most grotesque kind, 
and this repeated so constantly as to occupy much 
K 2 



196 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

time ; yet these people become rich and powerful 
wherever they settle themselves. Whatever they 
manufactm-e, whatever their farms produce, is 
always in the highest repute, and brings the 
highest price in the market. They receive all 
strangers with great courtesy, and if they bring an 
introduction they are lodged and fed for any length 
of time they choose to stay ; they are not asked to 
join in their labours, but are permitted to do so if 
they wish it. 

The Big-Bone Lick was not visited, and 
even partially examined, without considerable fa- 
tigue. 

It appeared from the account of our travellers, 
that the spot which gives the region its elegant 
name is a deep bed of blue clay, tenacious and 
unsound, so much so as to render it both difficult 
and dangerous to traverse. The digging it has 
been found so laborious that no one has yet ha- 
zarded the expense of a complete search into 
its depths for the gigantic relics so certainly 
hidden there. The clay has never been moved 
without finding some of them ; and I think it can 
hardly be doubted that money and perseverance 



OF THE AMERICANS. 197 

would procure a more perfect specimen of an 
entire mammoth tban we have yet seen *. 

And now the time arrived that our domestic 
circle was again to be broken up. Our eldest son 
was to be entered at Oxford, and it was necessary 
that his father should accompany him ; and, after 
considerable indecision, it was at length deter- 
mined that I and my daughters should remain 
another year, with our second son. It was early 
in February, and our travellers prepared them- 
selves to encounter some sharp gales upon the 
mountains, though the great severity of the cold 
appeared to be past. We got buffalo robes and 
double shoes prepared for them, and they were on 
the eve of departure when we heard that General 
Jackson, the newly-elected President, was ex- 
pected to arrive immediately at Cincinnati, from 
his residence in the West, and to proceed by steam- 
boat to Pittsburgh, on his way to Washington. 
This determined them not to fix the day of their 
departure till they heard of his arrival, and then, 

* Since the above was written an immense skeleton, nearly 
perfect, has been extracted. 

K 3 



198 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

if possible, to start in the same boat with him ; 
the decent dignity of a private conveyance not 
being deemed necessary for the President of the 
United States. 

The day of his arrival was however quite un- 
certain, and we could only determine to have every 
thing very perfectly in readiness, let it come w^hen 
it would. This resolution w^as hardly acted upon 
when the new^s reached us that the General had 
arrived at Louisville, and was expected at Cincin- 
nati in a few hours. All was bustle and hurry at 
Mohawk-cottage ; we quickly dispatched our 
packing business, and this being the first oppor- 
tunity we had had of witnessing such a demon- 
stration of popular feeling, we all determined to 
be present at the debarkation of the great man. 
We accordingly walked to Cincinnati, and secured 
a favourable station at the landing-place, both for 
the purpose of seeing the first magistrate and of 
observing his reception by the people. We had 
w aited but a few moments when the heavy panting 
of the steam-engines and then a discharge of 
cannon told that we were just in time ; another 
moment brought his vessel in sight. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 199 

Nothing could be better of its kind than his 
approach to the shore: the noble steam-boat which 
conveyed him was flanked on each side by one of 
nearly equal size and splendour ; the roofs of all 
three were covered by a crowd of men ; cannon 
saluted them from the shore as they passed by, to 
the distance of a quarter of a mile above the town ; 
there they turned about, and came down the river 
with a rapid but stately motion, the three vessels 
so close together as to appear one mighty mass 
upon the water. 

When they arrived opposite the principal land- 
ing they swept gracefully round, and the side 
vessels, separating themselves fi'om the centre, fell 
a few feet back, permitting her to approach before 
them with her honoured freight. All this ma- 
noeuvring was extremely well executed, and really 
beautiful. 

The crowd on the shore awaited her arrival in 
perfect stillness. When she touched the bank the 
peojDle on board gave a faint huzza, but it was 
answered by no note of welcome from the land : 
this cold silence was certainly not produced by 
any want of friendly feeling towards the new Pre- 
K 4 



200 DOMESTIC M.ANNERS 

sident ; during the whole of the canvassing he had 
been decidedly the popular candidate at Cincin- 
nati, and, for months past, we had been accus- 
tomed to the cry of " Jackson for ever" from an 
overwhelming majority ; but enthusiasm is not 
either the virtue or the vice of America. 

More than one private can'iage was stationed at 
the water's edge to await the General's orders, 
but they were dismissed with the information that 
he would walk to the hotel. Upon receiving this 
intimation the silent crowd divided itself in a very 
orderly manner, leaving a space for him to walk 
through them. He did so, uncovered, though the 
distance was considerable, and the weather very 
cold ; but he alone (with the exception of a {ew 
European gentlemen who w^ere present) was with- 
out a hat. He wore his gi'ey hair. Carelessly, but 
not ungracefully arranged, and, spite of his harsh 
gaunt features, he looks like a gentleman and a 
soldier. He was in deep mourning, having very 
recently lost his wife ; they were said to have 
been very happy together, and I was pained by 
hearing a voice near me exclaim, as he approached 
the spot where I stood, " There goes Jackson, 



OF THE AMERICANS. 201 

where is his wife ?" Another sharp voice, at a little 
distance, cried, " Adams for ever !" And these 
sounds were all T heard to break the silence. 

" They manage these matters better" in the 
East, I have no doubt, but as yet I was still in the 
West, and still inclined to think, that however 
meritorious the American character may be, it is 
not amiable. 

Mr. T. and his sons joined the group of citizens 
who waited upon him to the hotel, and were pre- 
sented to the President in form ; that is, they shook 
hands with him. Learning that he intended to re- 
main a few hours there, or more properly, that it 
would be a few hours before the steam- boat would be 
ready to proceed, Mr. T. secured berths on board, 
and returned, to take a hasty dinner with us. At 
the hour appointed by the captain, Mr. T. and his 
son accompanied the General on board; and by 
subsequent letters I leamt that they had conversed 
a good deal with him, and were pleased by his 
conversation and manners, but deeply disgusted 
by the brutal familiarity to which they saw him 
exposed at every place on their progi'ess at which 
they stojoped ; I am tempted to quote one passage, 
K 5 



202 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

as sufficiently descriptive of the manner, which so 
painfully grated against their European feelings. 

'' There was not a hulking boy from a keel-boat 
who was not introduced to the President, unless, 
indeed, as was the case with some, they intro- 
duced themselves : for instance, I was at his elbow 
when a greasy fellow^ accosted him thus: — 

" ' General Jackson, I guess ?' 

" The General bowed assent. 

" * Why they told me you w^as dead.' 

" ^ No ! Providence has hitherto preserved my 
life.' 

" ' And is your wife alive too ?' 

" The General, apparently much hurt, signified 
the contrary, upon which the courtier concluded 
his harangue, by saying, ' Aye, I thought it was 
the one or the t'other of ye.' " 



OF THE AMEKICANS. 203 



CHAPTER XIV. 

American Spring — Controversy betweeti Messrs, 
Owen and Campbell — Public ball — Separation 
of the sexes — American freedom — Execution. 

The American spring is by no means so agreeable 
as the American autumn ; both move with faulter- 
ing step, and slow ; but this lingering pace, which 
is delicious in autumn, is most tormenting in the 
spring. In the one case you are about to part 
with a friend, who is becoming more gentle and 
agreeable at every step, and such steps can hardly 
be made too slowly ; but in the other you are 
making your escape from a dreary cavern, where 
you have been shut up with black frost and biting 
blasts, and where your best consolation was being 
smoke-dried. 

But, upon second thoughts, I believe it would 
be more correct, instead of complaining of the slow 
pace of the American spring, to declare that they 
k6 



•204 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

have no spring at all. The beautiful autumn often 
lingers on till Christmas, after which winter can 
be trifled with no longer, and generally keeps a 
stubborn hold through the months which we call 
spring, when he suddenly turns his back, and 
summer takes his place. 

The inconceivable uncertainty of the climate is, 
however, such, that I will not venture to state 
about what time this change takes place, for it is 
certain, that let me name what time I would, it 
would be easy for any weather journaliser to prove 
me wrong, by quoting that the thermometer was 
at 100 at a period which my statement included in 
the winter ; or 50 long after I made the summer 
commence. 

The climate of England is called uncertain, but 
it can never, 1 think, be so described by any who 
have experienced that of the United States. A 
gentleman, on whose accuracy I could depend, 
told me he had repeatedly known the thermometer 
vary above 40 degrees in the space of twelve hours. 
This most unpleasant caprice of the temperature 
is, I conceive, one cause of the unhealthiness of 
the climate. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 205 

At length, however, after shivermg and shaking 
till we were tired of it, and having been half ruined 
in fire-wood (which, by the way, is nearly as dear 
as at Paris, and dearer in many parts of the Union), 
the summer burst upon us full blown, and the ice- 
house, the piazza, and the jalousies were again in 
full requisition. 

It was in the early summer of this year (1829) 
that Cincinnati offered a spectacle unprecedented, 
I believe, in any age or country. Mr. Owen, of 
Lanai'k, of New Harmony, of Texas, well known 
to the world by all or either of these additions, 
had challenged the whole religious public of the 
United States to discuss with him publicly the 
truth or falsehood of all the religions that had ever 
been propagated on the face of the earth ; stating, 
further, that he undertook to prove that they were 
all equally false, and nearly equally mischievous. 
This most appalling challenge was conveyed to the 
world through the medium of New Orleans news- 
papers, and for some time it remained unanswered ; 
at length the Reverend Alexander Campbell, from 
Bethany, (not of Judaea, but of Kentucky,) pro- 
claimed, through the same medium, that he w^as 



206 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

ready to take up the gauntlet. The place fixed 
for this extraordinary discussion was Cincinnati ; 
the time, the second Monday in May, 1829, being 
about a year from the time the challenge was ac- 
cepted ; thus giving the disputants time to prepare 
themselves. 

]Mr. Owen's preparation, however, could only 
have been such as those who run may read, for, 
during the interval, he traversed great part of 
North America, crossed the Atlantic twice, visited 
England, Scotland, Mexico, Texas, and I know 
not how many places besides. 

Mr. Campbell, I was told, passed this period 
very differently, being engaged in reading with 
great research and perseverance all the theological 
works within his reach. But whatever confidence 
the learning and piety of Mr. Campbell might 
have inspired in his friends, or in the Cincinnati 
Christians in general, it was not, as it appeared, 
sufficient to induce Mr. Wilson, the Presbyterian 
minister of the largest church in the town, to 
permit the display of them within its walls. This 
refusal was greatly reprobated, and much re- 
gretted, as the curiosity to hear the discussion was 



OF THE AMERICANS. 207 

very general, and no other edifice offered so much 
accommodation. 

A Methodist meeting-house, large enough to 
contain a thousand persons, was at last chosen ; a 
small stage was arranged round the pulpit, large 
enough to accommodate the disputants and their 
stenographers; the pulpit itself was throughout 
the whole time occupied by the aged father of Mr. 
Campbell, whose flowing white hair, and vener- 
able countenance, constantly expressive of the 
deepest attention, and the most profound interest, 
made him a very striking figure in the group. 
Another platform was raised in a conspicuous 
part of the building, on which were seated seven 
gentlemen of the city, selected as moderators. 

The chapel was equally divided, one half being 
appropriated to ladies, the other to gentlemen ; 
and the door of entrance reserved for the ladies 
was carefully guarded by persons appointed to 
prevent any crowding or difficulty from impeding 
their approach. I suspect that the ladies were 
indebted to Mr. Owen for this attention ; the ar- 
rangements respecting them on this occasion were 
by no means American. 



208 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

When Mr. Owen rose, the building was thronged 
in every part ; the audience, or congregation, (I 
hardly know which to call them) were of the 
highest rank of citizens, and as large a proportion 
of best bonnets fluttered there, as the " two 
homed church" itself could boast. 

It was in the profoundest silence, and appa- 
rently with the deepest attention, that Mr. Owen's 
opening address was received ; and surely it was 
the most singular one that ever Christian men and 
women sat to listen to. 

When I recollect its object, and the uncom- 
promising manner in which the orator stated his 
mature conviction that the whole history of the 
Christian mission w^as a fraud, and its sacred 
origin a fable, I cannot but wonder that it was 
so listened to ; yet at the time I felt no such 
wonder. Never did any one practise the suaviter 
in modo with more powerful effect than Mr. 
Owen. The gentle tone of his voice ; his mild, 
sometimes playful, but never ironical manner ; the 
absence of every vehement or harsh expression ; 
the affectionate interest expressed for " the whole 
human familv," the air of candour with which 






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M' 



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- -^i 



OF THE AMERICANS. 209 

he expressed his wish to be convinced he was 
wrong, if he indeed were so — his kind smile — the 
mild expression of his eyes — in short, his whole 
manner, disarmed zeal, and produced a degree of 
tolerance that those who did not hear him would 
hardly believe possible. 

Half an hour was the time allotted for each 
haranguer ; when this was expired, the moderators 
were seen to look at their watches.. Mr. Owen, 
too, looked at his (without pausing) smiled, shook 
his head, and said in a parenthesis " a moment's pa- 
tience/' and continued for nearly another half hour. 

Mr. Campbell then arose ; his person, voice, 
and manner all greatly in his favour. In his first 
attack he used the arms, which in general have 
been considered as belonging to the other side of 
the question. He quizzed Mr. Owen most un- 
mercifully; pinched him here for his parallel- 
ograms ; hit him there for his human perfecti- 
bility, and kept the whole audience in a roar of 
laughter. Mr. Owen joined in it most heartily 
himself, and listened to him throughout with the 
air of a man who is delighted at the good things 
he is hearing, and exactly in the cue to enjoy all 



•210 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

the other good things that he is sure will follow. 
Mr. Campbell's w^atch was the only one which 
reminded us that we had listened to him for half 
an horn' ; and having continued speaking for a 
few minutes after he had looked at it, he sat down 
with, I should think, the universal admiration of 
his auditory. 

Mr. Owen again addressed us; and his first 
five minutes w^ere occupied in complimenting Mr. 
Campbell with all the strength his exceeding 
hearty laughter had left him. But then he changed 
his tone, and said the business was too serious to 
permit the next half hour to pass so hghtly and so 
pleasantly as the last; and then he read us what 
he called his twelve fundamental laws of human 
nature. These twelve laws he has taken so much 
trouble to circulate to all the nations of the earth, 
that it must be quite unnecessary to repeat them 
here. To me they appear twelve truisms, that no 
man in his senses w^ould ever think of contradict- 
ing ; but how any one can have conceived that the 
explanation and defence of these laws could fur- 
nish forth occupation for his pen and his voice, 
through whole years of unwearying declamation. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 211 

or how he can have dreamed that they could be 
twisted into a refutation of the Christian religion, 
is a mystery which I never expect to understand. 

From this time Mr. Owen entrenched himself 
behind his twelve laws, and Mr. Campbell, w^ith 
equal gravity, confined himself to bringing forward 
the most elaborate theological authorities in evi- 
dence of the truth of revealed religion. 

Neither appeared to me to answer the other ; 
but to confine themselves to the utterance of what 
they had uppermost in their own minds when the 
discussion began. I lamented this on the side of 
Mr. Campbell, as I am persuaded he would have 
been much more powerful had he trusted more to 
himself and less to his books. Mr. Owen is an 
extraordinary man, and certainly possessed of 
talent, but he appears to me so utterly benighted 
in the mists of his ow^n theories, that he has quite 
lost the power of looking through them, so as to get 
a peep at the w^orld as it really exists around him. 

At the conclusion of the debate (which lasted 
for fifteen sittings) Mr. Campbell desired the 
whole assembly to sit down. They obeyed. He 
then requested all who wished well to Christianity 



212 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

to rise, and a very large majority were in an instant 
on their legs. He again requested them to be 
seated, and then desired those who believed not 
in its doctrines to rise, and a few gentlemen and 
one lady obeyed. Mr. Owen protested against 
this manoeuvre, as he called it, and refused to 
believe that it afforded any proof of the state of 
men's minds, or of women's either ; declaring, that 
not only was such a result to be expected, in the 
present state of things, but that it was the duty of 
every man who had children to feed, not to hazard 
the sale of his hogs, or his iron, by a declaration of 
opinions which might offend the majority of his cus- 
tomers. It was said, that at the end of the fifteen 
meetings the numerical amount of the Christians 
and the Infidels of Cincinnati remained exactly 
what it was when they began. 

This w^as a result that might have been perhaps 
anticipated; but what was much less to have been 
expected, neither of the disputants ever appeared 
to lose their temper. I was told they were much 
in each other's company, constantly dining to- 
gether, and on all occasions expressed most cor- 
dially their mutual esteem. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 213 

All this I think could only have happened 
in America. I am not quite sure that it was 
very desirable it should have happened any 
where. 

In noting the various brilliant events which di- 
versified our residence in the western metropolis, 
I have omitted to mention the Birth-day Ball, as it 
is called, a festivity which, I believe, has place on 
the 22nd of February, in every town and city 
throughout the Union. It is the anniversary of 
the birth of General Washington, and well de- 
serves to be marked by the Americans as a day of 
jubilee. 

I was really astonished at the coup (Toeil on 
entering, for I saw a large room filled with ex- 
tremely well-dressed company, among whom were 
many very beautiful girls. The gentlemen also 
were exceedingly smart, but I had not yet been 
long enough in Western America not to feel 
startled at recognising in almost every full-dressed 
beau that passed me, the master or shopman that 
I had been used to see behind the counter, or 
lolling at the door of every shop in the city. The 
fairest and finest belles smiled and smirked on 



Q14 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

ibern with as much zeal and satisfaction as I ever 
saw bestowed on an eldest son, and I therefore 
could feel no doubt of their being considered as of 
the highest rank. Yet it must not be supposed 
that there is no distinction of classes : at this same 
ball I was looking among the many very beautiful 
girls I saw there for one more beautiful still, with 
whose lovely face I had been particularly struck 
at the school examination I have mentioned. I 
could not find her, and asked a gentleman why the 
beautiful Miss C. was not there. 

" You do not yet understand our aristocracy," 
he replied, " the family of Miss C. are me- 
chanics." 

" But the young lady has been educated at the 
same school as these, whom I see here, and I 
know her brother has a shop in the town, quite 
as large, and apparently as prosperous, as those 
belonging to any of these young men. What is 
the difference ? " 

" He is a mechanic ; he assists in making 
the articles he sells; the others call themselves 
merchants." 

The dancing was not quite like, yet not very 



OF THE AMEBICANS. 215 

unlike, what we see at an assize or race-ball in a 
country town. They call their dances cotillions 
instead of quadrilles, and the figures are called 
from the orchestra in English, which has a very 
ludicrous effect on European ears. 

The arrangements for the supper were very sin- 
gular, but eminently characteristic of the country. 
The gentlemen had a splendid entertainment 
spread for them in another large room of the hotel, 
while the poor ladies had each a plate put into 
their hands, as they pensively promenaded the 
ball-room during their absence ; and shortly after- 
wards servants appeared, bearing trays of sweet- 
meats, cakes, and creams. The fair creatures 
then sat down on a row of chairs placed round 
the walls, and each making a table of her knees, 
began eating her sweet, but sad and sulky re- 
past. The effect was extremely comic ; their gala 
dresses and the decorated room forming a contrast 
the most unaccountable with their uncomfortable 
and forlorn condition. 

This arrangement was owing neither to economy 
nor want of a room large enough to accommodate 
the whole party, but purely because the gentle- 



216 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

men liked it better. This was the answer given 
me, when my cmiosity tempted me to ask why 
the ladies and gentlemen did not sup together; 
and this was the answer repeated to me afterwards 
by a variety of people to whom I put the same 
question. 

I am led to mention this feature of American 
manners very frequently, not only because it con- 
stantly recurs, but because I consider it as being 
in a great degree the cause of that universal defi- 
ciency in good manners and graceful demeanour, 
both in men and women, which is so remark- 
able. 

Where there is no court, which every where 
else is the glass wherein the higher orders dress 
themselves, and which again reflected from them 
to the classes below, goes far towards polishing, in 
some degree, a great majority of the population, it 
is not be expected that manner should be made so 
much a study, or should attain an equal degree of 
elegance ; but the deficiency, and the total dif- 
ference, is greater than this cause alone could 
account for. The hours of enjoyment are im- 
portant to human beings every where, and we 



M 










OF THE AMERICANS. 217 

every where find them preparing to make the most 
of them. Those who enjoy themselves only in 
society, whether intellectual or convivial, prepare 
themselves for it, and such make but a poor figure 
when forced to be content with the sweets of 
solitude ; while, on the other hand, those to 
whom retirement affords the greatest pleasure, 
seldom give or receive much in society. Where- 
ever the highest enjoyment is found by both sexes 
in scenes where they meet each other, both will 
prepare themselves to appear with advantage 
there. The men wdll not indulge in the luxury of 
chewing tobacco, or even of spitting, and the 
women will contrive to be capable of holding a 
higher post than that of unwearied tea-makers. 

In America, with the exception of dancing, 
which is almost wholly confined to the unmarried 
of both sexes, all the enjoyments of the men are 
found in the absence of the women. They dine, 
they play cards, they have musical meetings, they 
have suppers, all in large parties, but all without 
women. Were it not that such is the custom, it 
is impossible but that they would have ingenuity 
enough to find some expedient for sparing the 

VOL. I. L 



218 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

wives and daughters of the opulent the sordid 
offices of household drudgery which they almost 
all perform in their families. Even in the slave 
states, though they may not clear-starch and iron, 
mix puddings and cakes one half of the day, and 
watch them baking the other half, still the very 
highest occupy themselves in their household con- 
cerns, in a manner that precludes the possibility 
of their becoming elegant and enlightened com- 
panions. In Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New 
York, I met with some exceptions to this ; but 
speaking of the country generally, it is unquestion- 
ably true. 

Had I not become heartily tired of my pro- 
longed residence in a place I cordially disliked, 
and which moreover I began to fear would not be 
attended with the favourable results we had anti- 
cipated, 1 should have found an almost inex- 
haustible source of amusement in the notions 
and opinions of the people I conversed with ; and 
as it was, I often did enjoy this in a considerable 
degree. 

We received, as I have mentioned, much per- 
sonal kindness ; but this by no means interfered 



OF THE AMERICANS. 219 

with the national feeling of, I believe, unconquer- 
able dislike, which evidently lives at the bottom 
of every truly American heart against the English. 
This shows itself in a thousand little ways, even 
in the midst of the most kind and friendly inter- 
course, but often in a manner more comic than 
offensive. 

Sometimes it was thus. — " Well, now, I think 
your government must just be fit to hang them- 
selves for that last war they cooked up ; it has 
been the ruin of you I expect, for it has just been 
the making of us." 

Then. — " Well, I do begin to understand your 
broken English better than I did ; but no wonder 
I could not make it out very well at first, as you 
come from London ; for every body knows that 
London slang is the most dreadful in the world. 
How queer it is now, that all the people that live 
in London should put the h where it is not, and 
never will put it where it is." 

I was egotistical enough to ask the lady who 
said this, if she found that I did so. 

" No ; you do not," was the reply ; but she 
added, with a complacent smile, " it is easy 
l2 



220 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

enough to see the pains you take about it : I ex- 
pect you have heard how we Americans laugh at 
you all for it, and so you are trying to learn our 
way of pronouncing." 

One lady asked me very gravely, if we had left 
home in order to get rid of the vermin with which 
the English of all ranks were afflicted ? *' I have 
heard from unquestionable authority," she added, 
" that it is ^quite impossible to walk through 
the streets of London without having the head 
filled." 

I laughed a little, but spoke not a word. She 
coloured highly, and said, " There is nothing so 
easy as to laugh, but truth is truth, laughed at or 
not." 

I must preface the following anecdote by ob- 
serving that in America nearly the whole of the 
insect tribe are classed under the general name of 
bug; the unfortunate cosmopolite known by that 
name amongst' us is almost the only one not in- 
cluded in this temi. A lady abruptly addressed 
me with, " Don't you hate chintzes, Mrs. Trollope ?" 
" No, indeed," I replied, " I think them very 
pretty." 



OF THE AMERICANS. 221 

" There now ! if that is not being English ! T 
reckon yon call that loving your country ; well, 
thank God ! we Americans have something better 
to love our country for than that comes to ; , we 
are not obliged to say that we like nasty filthy 
chintzes to shew that we are good patriots." 

" Chintzes ? what are chintzes ?" 

'* Possible ! do you pretend you don't know 
what chintzes are ? Why the nasty little stinking 
blood-suckers that all the beds in London are 
full of." 

I .have since been informed that chinche is 
Spanish for bug ; but at the time the 'svord sug- 
gested only the material of a curtain. 

Among other instances of that species of mo- 
desty so often seen in America, and so unknown 
to us, I frequently witnessed one, which, while it 
evinced the delicacy of the ladies, gave opportunity 
for many lively sallies from the gentlemen. I saw 
the same sort of thing repeated on different occa- 
sions at least a dozen times ; e. g. a young lady 
is employed in making a shirt, (which it would 
be a symptom of absolute depravity to name), 
a gentleman enters, and presently begins the 
l3 



222 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

sprightly dialogue with " What are you making. 
Miss Clarissa ?" 

" Only a frock for my sister's doll, sir." 

" A frock ? not possible. Don't I see that it is 
not a frock ? Come, Miss Clarissa, what is it r" 

** 'Tis just an apron for one of our Negroes, 
Mr. Smith." 

" How can you, Miss Clarissa ! why is not the 
two sides joined together? I expect you were 
better tell me what it is." 

'* My ! why then Mr. Smith, it is just a pillow- 
case." 

" Now that passes. Miss Clarissa ! 'Tis a 
pillow-case for a giant then. Shall I guess, 
Miss ?" 

" Quit, Mr. Smith ; behave yourself, or I'll 
certainly be affronted." 

Before the conversation an'ives at this point, 
both gentleman and lady are in convulsions of 
laughter. I once saw a young lady so hard driven 
by a wit, that to prove she was making a bag, and 
nothing but a bag, she sewed up the ends before 
his eyes, shewing it triumphantly, and exclaiming, 
" there now ! what can you say to that?" 




.KZ^y CI^JIMISS^ ^I^^JI> M? M.MI2-M 



OF THE AMERICANS. 223 

One of my friends startled me one day by saying 
in an affectionate, but rather compassionate tone, 
" How will you bear to go back to England to 
live, and to bring up your_ children in a country 
where you know you are considered as no better 
than the dirt in the streets ?" 

I begged she would explain. 

" Why, you know I would not affront you for 
any thing ; but the fact is, we Americans know 
rather more than you think for, and certainly if I 
was in England I should not think of associating 
with anything but lords. I have always been 
among the first here, and if I travelled I should 
like to do the same. I don't mean, I'm sure, that 
I would not come to see you, but you know you 
are not lords, and therefore I know very w ell how 
you are treated in your own country." 

I very rarely contradicted statements of this kind, 
as I found it less trouble, and infinitely more 
amusing, to let them pass ; indeed, had I done 
otherwise, it would have been of little avail, as 
among the many conversations I held in America 
respecting my own country, I do not recollect a 
single instance in which it was not clear that I 
l4 



224 DOMESTIC 3IAXNF:RS 

knew much less about it than those I conversed 
with. 

On the subject of national glory, I presume I 
got more than my share of buffeting ; for being a 
woman, there was no objection to their speaking 
out. One lady, indeed, who was a great patriot, 
evinced much delicacy towards me, for upon some 
one speaking of New Orleans, she interrupted 
them, saying, *' I wish you would not talk of New- 
Orleans ;'* and, tuniing to me, added with great 
gentleness, " It must be so painful to your feelings 
to hear that place mentioned !" 

The immense superiority of the American to 
the British navy was a constant theme, and to 
this I always listened, as nearly as possible, in 
silence. I repeatedly heard it stated, (so often, 
indeed, and from such various quarters, that I think 
there must be some truth in it), that the American 
sailors fire with a certainty of slaughter, whereas 
our shots are sent very nearly at random. ** This," 
said a naval officer of high reputation, *' is the 
blessed effect of your game laws ; your sailors never 
fire at a mark; whilst our free tars, from their 
practice in pursuit of game, can any of them split 



OF THE AMERICANS. 2'25 

a hair." But the favourite, the constant, the uni- 
versal sneer that met me every where, was on our 
old-fashioned attachments to things obsolete. Had 
they a little wit among them, I am certain they 
would have given us the cognomen of " My 
Grandmother, the British," for that is the tone 
they take, and it is thus they reconcile them- 
selves to the crude newness of every thing around 
them. 

" I wonder you are not sick of kings, chan- 
cellors, and archbishops, and all your fustian of 
wigs and gowns," said a very clever gentleman to 
me once, with an affected j-awn, " I protest the 
very sound almost sets me to sleep." 

It is amusing to observe how soothing the idea 
seems, that they are more modern, more advanced 
than England. Our classic literature, our princely 
dignities, our noble institutions, are all gone-by 
relics of the dark ages. 

This, and the vastness of their naked temtory, 
make up the flattering unction which is laid upon 
the soul, as an antidote to the little misgiving 
which from time to time arises, lest their large 
country be not of quite so much importance 
L 5 



226 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

among the nations, as a certain paltry old-fashioned 
little place that they wot of. 

I was once sitting with a party of ladies, among 
whom were one or two young girls, whose curiosity 
was greater than their patriotism, and they asked 
me many questions respecting the splendour and 
extent of London. I was endeavouring to satisfy 
them by the best description I could give, when 
we were inteiTupted by another lady, who ex- 
claimed, " Do hold your tongues, girls, about 
London ; if you want to know what a beautiful 
city is, look at Philadelphia ; when Mrs. Trollope 
has been there, I think she will allow that it is 
better worth talking about than that great over- 
grown collection of nasty, filthy, dirty streets, that 
they call London." 

Once in Ohio, and once in the district of Co- 
lumbia, I had an atlas displayed before me, that I 
might be convinced by the evidence of my own 
eyes what a very contemptible little country I 
came from. I shall never forget the gravity with 
which, on the latter occasion, a gentleman drew 
out his graduated pencil-case, and shewed me, 
past contradiction, that the whole of the British 



OF THE AMERICANS. 227 

dominions did not equal in size one of their least 
important states ; nor the air with which, after the 
demonstration, he placed his feet upon the chim- 
ney-piece, considerably higher than his head, and 
whistled Yankee Doodle. 

Their glorious institutions, their unequalled 
freedom, were, of course, not left unsung. 

I took some pains to ascertain what they meant 
by their glorious institutions, and it is with no 
affectation of ignorance that I profess I never 
could comprehend the meamng of the phrase, 
which is, however, on the lip of every American, 
when he talks of his country. I asked if by their 
institutions they meant their hospitals and peni- 
tentiaries. " Oh no ! we mean the glorious insti- 
tutions which are coeval with the revolution." 
" Is it," I asked, " your institution of marriage, 
which you have made purely a civil and not a 
reUgious rite, to be performed by a justice of peace, 
instead of a clergyman ?" 

" Oh no ! we speak of our divine political insti- 
tutions." 

Yet still I was in the dark, nor can I guess 
what they mean, unless they call incessant elec- 
l6 



228 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

tioneeriiig, without pause or interval for a single 
day, for a single hour, of their whole existence, " a 
glorious institution." 

Their unequalled freedom, I think, 1 understand 
better. Their code of common law is built upon 
ours ; and the difference between us is this, in 
England the laws are acted upon, in America they 
are not. 

I do not speak of the police of the Atlantic 
cities ; I believe it is well arranged : in New York 
it is celebrated for being so ; but out of the range 
of their influence, the contempt of law is greater 
than I can venture to state, with any hope of being 
believed. Trespass, assault, robbery, nay, even 
murder, are often committed without the slightest 
attempt at legal interference. 

During the summer that we passed most de- 
lightfully in Maryland, our rambles were often 
restrained in various directions by the advice of 
our kind friends, who knew the manners and 
morals of the country. When we asked the cause, 
we were told, " There is a public-house on that 
road, and it will not be safe to pass it." 

The line of the Chesapeak and Ohio canal 



OF THE AMERICANS. 229 

passed within a few miles of Mrs. S***'s residence. 
It twice happened during our stay with her, that 
dead bodies were found partially concealed near 
it. The circumstance was related as a sort of 
half hour's wonder ; and when I asked particulars 
of those who, on one occasion, brought the tale, 
the reply was, '^ Oh, he was murdered I expect; 
or may-be he died of the canal fever ; but they say 
he had marks of being throttled." No inquest 
was summoned ; and certainly no more sensation 
was produced by the occurrence than if a sheep 
had been found in the same predicament. 

The abundance of food and the scarcity of 
hanging were also favourite topics, as proving their 
superiority to England. They are both excellent 
things, but I do not admit the inference. A wide 
and most fertile territory, as yet but thinly in- 
habited, may easily be made to yield abundant 
food for its population: and where a desperate 
villain knows^ that when he has made his town 
or his village " too hot to hold him," he has 
nothing to do but to travel a few miles west, and 
be sure of finding plenty of beef and whiskey, 
with no danger that the law shall follow him, 



230 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

it is not extraordinary that executions should be 
rare. 

Once during our residence at Cincinnati, a mur- 
derer of uncommon atrocity was taken, tried, con- 
victed, and condemned to death. It had been 
shewn on his trial, that some years before he had 
murdered a wife and child at New Orleans, but 
little notice had been taken of it at the time. The 
crime which had now thrown him into the hands 
of justice was the recent murder of a second wife, 
and the chief evidence against him was his own 
son. 

The day of his execution was fixed, and the 
sensation produced was so great from the sti'ange- 
ness of the occurrence, (no white man having ever 
been executed at Cincinnati,) that persons from 
sixty miles' distance came to be present at it. 

Meanwhile some unco' good people began to 
start doubts as to the righteousness of hanging a 
man, and made application to the Governor of the 
State * of Ohio, to commute the sentence into im- 

* The Governors of states have the same power over life and 
death as is vested, with us, in the crown. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 231 

prisonment. The Governor for some time refused 
to interfere with the sentence of the tribunal before 
which he had been tried; but at length, frightened 
at the unusual situation in which he found him- 
self, he yielded to the importunity of the Presby- 
terian party who had assailed him, and sent off an 
order to the sheriff accordingly. But this order 
was not to reprieve him, but to ask him if he 
pleased to be reprieved, and sent to the peni- 
tentiary instead of being hanged. 

The sheriff waited upon the criminal, and made 
his proposal, and was answered, " If any thing 
could make me agree to it, it would be the hope 
of living long enough to kill you and my dog of a 
son : however, I won't agree ; you shall have the 
hanging of me." 

The worthy sheriff, to whom the ghastly office of 
executioner is assigned, said all in his power to 
persuade him to sign the offered document, but in 
vain ; he obtained nothing but abuse for his efforts. 
The day of execution arrived ; the place ap- 
pointed was the side of a hill, the only one cleared 
of trees near the town; and many hours before the 
time fixed, we saw it entirely covered by an im- 



•23-2 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

mense multitude of men, women, and children. 
At length the hour arrived, the dismal cart was 
seen slowly mounting the hill, the noisy throng 
was hushed into solemn silence ; the wretched 
criminal mounted the scaffold, when again the 
sheriff asked him to sign his acceptance of the 
commutation proposed ; but he spurned the paper 
from him, and cried aloud, " Hang me !" 

Mid- day was the moment appointed for cut- 
ting the rope; the sheriff stood, his watch in 
one hand, and a knife in the other ; the hand was 
lifted to strike, when the criminal stoutly exclaimed, 
" I sign ;" and he was conveyed back to prison, 
amidst the shouts, laughter, and ribaldry of the 
mob. 

I am not fond of hanging, but there was some- 
thing in all this that did not look like the decent 
dignity of wholesome justice. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 233 



CHAPTER XV. 

Camp-Meeting, 

It was in the course of this summer that I found 
the opportunity I had long wished for, of attend- 
ing a camp-meeting, and I gladly accepted the 
invitation of an English lady and gentleman to 
accompany them in their carriage to the spot 
where it is held ; this was in a wild district on the 
confines of Indiana. 

The prospect of passing a night in the back 
woods of Indiana was by no means agreeable, but 
I screwed my courage to the proper pitch, and set 
fortli determined to see with my own eyes, and 
hear with my own ears, what a camp -meeting 
really was. I had heard it said that being at 
a camp-meeting was like standing at the gate of 
heaven, and seeing it opening before you ; I had 
heard it said, that being at a camp-meeting w^as 



234 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

like finding yourself within the gates of hell ; in 
either case there must be something to gratify 
curiosity, and compensate one for the fatigue of a 
long rumbling ride and a sleepless night. 

We reached the ground about an hour before 
midnight, and the approach to it was highly 
picturesque. The spot chosen was the verge of 
an unbroken forest, where a space of about twenty 
acres appeared to have been partially cleared for 
the purpose. Tents of different sizes were pitched 
very near together in a circle round the cleared 
space ; behind them were ranged an exterior circle 
t)f carriages of every description, and at the back 
of each were fastened the horses which had drawn 
them thither. Through this triple circle of defence 
we distinguished numerous fires burning brightly 
within it ; and still more numerous lights flicker- 
ing from the trees that were left in the en- 
closure. The moon was in meridian splendour 
above our heads. 

We left the carriage to the care of a servant, 
who was to prepare a bed in it for Mrs. B. and 
me, and entered the inner circle. The first glance 
reminded me of Vauxhall, from the effect of the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 235 

lights among the trees, and the moving crowd 
below them ; but the second shewed a scene to- 
tally unlike any thing I had ever witnessed. Four 
high frames, constructed in the form of altars, 
were placed at the four corners of the enclosure ; 
on these were supported layers of earth and sod, 
on which burned immense fires of blazing pine- 
wood. On one side a rude platform was erected 
to accommodate the preachers, fifteen of whom 
attended this meeting, and with very short inter- 
vals for necessary refreshment and private devo- 
tion, preached in rotation, day and night, from 
Tuesday to Saturday. 

When we arrived, the preachers were silent ; 
but we heard issuing from nearly every tent 
mingled sounds of praying, preaching, singing, 
and lamentation. The curtains in front of each 
tent were dropped, and the faint light that gleamed 
through the white drapery, backed as it was by 
the dark forest, had a beautiful and mysterious 
efiect, that set the imagination at work ; and had 
the sounds which vibrated around us been less 
discordant, harsh, and unnatural, I should have 
enjoyed it ; but listening at the corner of a tent. 



236 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

which poured forth more than its proportion of 
clamour, in a few moments chased every feehng 
derived from imagination, and furnished realities 
that could neither be mistaken or forgotten. 

Great numbers of persons were walking about 
the ground, who appeared like ourselves to be 
present only as spectators ; some of these very 
unceremoniously contrived to raise the drapery of 
this tent, at one corner, so as to afford us a perfect 
view of the interior. 

The floor was covered with straw, which round 
the sides was heaped in masses, that might serve 
as seats, but which at that moment were used to 
support the heads and the arms of the close- 
packed circle of men and women who kneeled 
on the floor. 

Out of about thirty persons thus placed, perhaps 
half a dozen were men. One of these, a hand- 
some looking youth of eighteen or twenty, kneeled 
just below the opening through which I looked. 
His arm was encircling the neck of a young girl 
who knelt beside him, with her hair hanging 
dishevelled upon her shoulders, and her features 
working with the most violent agitation ; soon 



OF THE AMERICANS. 237 

after they both fell forward on the straw, as if 
unable to endure in any other attitude the burning 
eloquence of a tall grim figure in black, who, 
standing erect in the centre, was uttering with 
incredible vehemence an oration that seemed to 
hover between praying and preaching ; his arms 
hung stiff and immoveable by his side, and he 
looked like an ill-constructed machine, set in 
action by a movement so violent, as to threaten its 
own destruction, so jerkingly, painfully, yet ra- 
pidly, did his words tumble out ; the kneeling 
circle ceasing not to call in every variety of tone, 
on the name of Jesus ; accompanied with sobs, 
groans, and a sort of low howling inexpressibly 
painful to listen to. But my attention was speedily 
withdrawn from the preacher, and the circle round 
him, by a figure which knelt alone at some dis- 
tance ; it was a living image of Scott's Macbriar, as 
young, as wild, and as tenible. His thin arms tossed 
above his head, had forced themselves so far out 
of the sleeves, that they were bare to the elbow ; 
his large eyes glared frightfully, and he continued 
to scream without an instant's intermission the 
word " Glory !" with a violence that seemed to 



•238 DOMESTIC M.AXXERS 

swell every vein to bursting. It was too dreadful 
to look upon long, and we turned away shud- 
dering. 

We made the circuit of the tents, pausing where 
attention was particulaiiy excited by sounds more 
vehement than ordinary. We contrived to look 
into many ; all were strewed with straw, and the 
distorted figures that we saw kneeling, sitting, and 
lying amongst it, joined to the woeful and con- 
vulsive cries, gave to each, the air of a cell in 
Bedlam. 

One tent was occupied exclusively by Negroes. 
They were all full-dressed, and looked exactly as 
if they were perfonning a scene on the stage. 
One woman wore a dress of pink gauze trimmed 
with silver lace ; another was dressed in pale 
yellow silk; one or two had splendid turbans; and 
all wore a profusion of ornaments. The men were 
in snow white pantaloons, with gay coloured linen 
jackets. One of these, a youth of coal-black come- 
liness, was preaching with the most violent gesti- 
culations, frequently springing high from the 
ground, and clapping his hands over his head. 
Could our missionary societies have heard the 
13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 239 

trash he uttered, by way of an address to the 
Deity, they might perhaps have doubted whether 
his conversion had much enhghtened his mind. 

At midnight a horn sounded through the camp, 
which, we were told, was to call the people from 
private to public worship ; and we presently saw 
them flocking from all sides to the fi'ont of the 
preachers' stand. Mrs. B. and I contrived to 
place ourselves with our backs supported against 
the lower part of this structure, and we were thus 
enabled to witness the scene which followed with- 
out personal danger. There were about two thou- 
sand persons assembled. 

One of the preachers began in a low nasal tone, 
and, like all other Methodist preachers, assured us 
of the enormous depravity of man as he comes 
from the hands of his Maker, and of his perfect 
sanctification after he had wrestled sufficiently 
with the Lord to get hold of him, et cceiera. The 
admiration of the crowd was evinced by almost 
constant cries of " Amen ! Amen !" " Jesus ! 
Jesus !" " Glory [ Glory !" and the like. But this 
comparative tranquillity did not last long: the 
preacher told them that *' this night was the time 



240 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

fixed upon for anxious sinners to wrestle with the 
Lord;" that he and his brethren " were at hand to 
help them," and that such as needed their help 
were to come forward into " the pen." The phrase 
forcibly recalled Milton's lines — 

" Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know how to hold 
A sheep-hook, or have learned aught else, the least 
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs ! 
— But when they list their lean and flashy songs, 
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw ; — 

The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed ! 
But swoln with wind, and the i-ank mist they draw, 

Rot inwardly — and foul contagion spread." 

" The pen" was the space immediately below the 
preachers' stand ; we were therefore placed on the 
edge of it, and were enabled to see and hear all 
that took place in the very centre of this extraor- 
dinary exhibition. 

The crowd fell back at the mention of the ^?ew, 
and for some minutes there was a vacant space 
before us. The preachers came down from their 
stand and placed themselves in the midst of it, 
beginning to sing a hymn, calling upon the peni- 
tents to come forth. As they sung they kept turn- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 241 

ing themselves round to every part of the crowd, 
and, by degrees, the voices of the whole multitude 
joined in chorus. This was the only moment at 
which I perceived any thing like the solemn and 
beautiful effect, which I had heard ascribed to this 
woodland worship. It is certain that the com- 
bined voices of such a multitude, heard at dead of 
night, from the depths of their eternal forests, the 
many fair young faces turned upward, and looking 
paler and lovelier as they met the moon-beams, 
the dark figures of the officials in the middle of 
the circle, the lurid glare thrown by the altar- 
fires on the woods beyond, did altogether produce 
a fine and solemn effect, that I shall not easily 
forget ; but ere I had well enjoyed it, the scene 
changed, and sublimity gave place to horror and 
disgust. 

The exhortation nearly resembled that which I 
had heard at " the Revival," but the result was 
very different ; for, instead of the few hysterical 
women who had distinguished themselves on that 
occasion, above a hundred persons, nearly all 
females, came forward, uttering bowlings and 
groans, so terrible that I shall never cease to 

VOL. I. M 



242 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

shudder when I recall them. They appeared to 
drag each other forward, and on the word being 
given, " let us pray," they all fell on their knees ; 
but this posture was soon changed for others that 
permitted greater scope for the convulsive move- 
ments of their limbs; and they were soon all 
lying on the ground in an indescribable confu- 
sion of heads and legs. They threw about their 
limbs with such incessant and violent motion, that 
I was every instant expecting some serious acci- 
dent to occur. 

But how am I to describe the sounds that pro- 
ceeded from this strange mass of human beings ? I 
know no words which can convey an idea of it. 
Hysterical sobbings, convulsive groans, shrieks 
and screams the most appalling, burst forth on all 
sides. I felt sick with horror. As if their hoarse 
and overstrained voices failed to make noise 
enough, they soon began to clap their hands 
violently. The scene described by Dante was 
before me : — 

" Quivi sospiri, pianti, ed altiguai 

Risonavon per I'aere 

Orribili favelle 



OF THE AMERICANS. 243 

Parole di dolore, accent! d'ira 

Voci alti e fioche, e suon di man con elle." 

Many of these wretched creatm*es were beautiful 
young females. The preachers moved about 
among them, at once exciting and soothing their 
agonies. I heard the muttered " Sister ! dear 
sister !" I saw the insidious lips approach the 
cheeks of the unhappy girls ; I heard the mur- 
mured confessions of the poor victims, and I 
watched their tormentors, breathing into their ears 
consolations that tinged the pale cheek with red. 
Had I been a man, I am sure I should have been 
guilty of some rash act of interference ; nor do I 
believe that such a scene could have been acted 
in the presence of Englishmen without instant 
punishment being inflicted ; not to mention the 
salutary discipline of the tread-mill, which, beyond 
all question, would, in England, have been applied 
to check so turbulent and so vicious a scene. 

After the first wild burst that followed their 
prostration, the moanings, in many instances, be- 
came loudly articulate; and I then experienced 
a strange vibration between tragic and comic 
feeling. 

M 2 



244 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

A very pretty girl, who was kneeling in the 
attitude of Canova's Magdalene immediately before 
us, amongst an immense quantity of jargon, broke 
out thus : " Woe ! woe to the backsliders ! hear 
it, hear it Jesus ! when I was fifteen my mother 
died, and I -backslided, oh Jesus, I backslided ! 
take me home to my mother, Jesus ! take me home 
to her, for I am weary ! Oh John Mitch el ! John 
Mitchel !" and after sobbing piteously behind her 
raised hands, she lifted her sweet face again, 
which was as pale as death, and said, " Shall I 
sit on the sunny bank of salvation with my mo- 
ther ? my own dear mother ? oh Jesus, take me 
home, take me home !" 

Who could refuse a tear to this earnest wish 
for death in one so young and so lovely ? But I 
saw her, ere I left the ground, with her hand fast 
locked, and her head supported by a man who 
looked very much as Don Juan might, w^hen sent 
back to earth as too bad for the regions below. 

One woman near us continued to " call on the 
Lord," as it is termed, in the loudest possible 
tone, and without a moment's interval, for the two 
hours that we kept our dreadful station. She 



OF THE AMERICANS. 245 

became frightfully hoarse, and her face so red as 
to make me expect she would burst a blood-vessel. 
Among the rest of her rant, she said, " 1 will hold 
fast to Jesus, 1 never will let him go ; if they 
take me to hell, I will still hold him fast, fast, 
fast !" 

The stunning noise was sometimes varied by the 
preachers beginning to sing ; but the convulsive 
movements of the poor maniacs only became more 
violent. At length the atrocious wickedness of 
this hoiTible scene increased to a degree of gross- 
ness, that drove us from our station ; we returned 
to the carriage at about three o'clock in the morn- 
ing, and passed the remainder of the night in 
listening to the ever increasing tumult at the pen. 
To sleep was impossible. At day-break the horn 
again sounded, to send them to private devotion ; 
and in about an hour afterwards I saw the whole 
camp as joyously and eagerly employed in pre- 
paring and devouring their most substantial break- 
fasts as if the night had been passed in dancing ; 
and I marked many a fair but pale face, that I 
recognised as a demoniac of the night, simpering 
beside a swain, to whom she carefully adminis- 
M 3 



246 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

tered hot coffee and eggs. The preaching samt 
and the howling sinner seemed alike to relish this 
mode of recruiting their strength. 

After enjoying abundance of strong tea, which 
proved a delightful restorative after a night so 
strangely spent, I wandered alone into the forest, 
and I never remember to have found perfect quiet 
more delightful. 

We soon after left the ground ; but before our 
departure we learnt that a very satisfactory col- 
lection had been made by the preachers, for Bibles, 
Tracts, and all other religious purposes. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 247 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Danger ofr^ural excursions — Sickness. 

It is by no means easy to enjoy the beauties of 
American scenery in the west, even when you are 
in a neighbourhood that affords much to admire ; 
at least, in doing so, you run considerable risk of 
injuring your health. Nothing is considered more 
dangerous than exposure to mid-day heat, except 
exposure to evening damp ; and the twilight is 
so short, that if you set out on an expedition when 
the fervid heat subsides, you can hardly get half 
a mile before " sun down," as they call it, warns 
you that you must run or drive home again, as fast 
as possible, for fear you should get " a chill." 

I believe we braved all this more than any one 
else in the whole country, and if we had not, we 
should have left Cincinnati without seeing any 
thing of the country around it. 

Though we kept steadily to our resolution of 
M 4 



•248 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

passing no more sylvan hours in the forests of 
Ohio, we often spent entire days in Kentucky, 
tracing the course of a " creek," or climbing the 
highest points within our reach, in the hope of 
catching a glimpse of some distant object. A 
beautiful reach of the Ohio, or the dark windings 
of the pretty Licking, were indeed always the 
most remarkable features in the landscape. 

There was one spot, however, so beautiful that 
we visited it again and again ; it was by no means 
free from mosquitoes ; and being on the bank of a 
stream, with many enormous trees lying on the 
half-cleared ground around, it was just such a 
place as we had been told a hundred times was 
particularly *' dangerous ;" nevertheless, we dared 
every thing for the sake of dining beside our beau- 
tiful rippling stream, and watching the bright sun- 
beams dancing on the grassy bank, at such a 
distance from our retreat that they could not heat 
us. A little below the basin that cooled our wine 
was a cascade of sufficient dimensions to give us 
all the music of a waterfall, and all the sparkling 
brightness of clear water when it is broken again 
and again by jutting crags. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 249 

To sit beside this miniature cascade, and read, or 
dream away a day, was one of our greatest plea- 
sures. 

It was indeed a mortifying fact, that whenever 
we found out a picturesque nook, where turf, 
and moss, and deep shade, and a crystal stream, 
and fallen trees, majestic in their ruin, tempted us 
to sit down, and be very cool and very happy, w^e 
invariably found that that spot lay under the im- 
putation of malaria. 

A row upon the Ohio was another of our fa- 
vourite amusements ; but in this, I believe, we 
were also very singular, for often, when enjoying 
it, we were shouted at, by the young free-borns 
on the banks, as if we had been so many mon- 
sters. 

The only rural amusement in which we ever 
saw any of the natives engaged was eating straw- 
berries and cream in a pretty garden about three 
miles from the town ; here we actually met three 
or four carriages; a degree of dissipation that I 
never witnessed on any other occasion. The 
strawberries were tolerable strawbemes, but the 
cream was the vilest sky-blue, and the charge half 
M 5 



250 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

a dollar to each person ; which being about the 
price of half a fat sheep, I thought " pretty con- 
siderable much," if I may be permitted to use an 
expressive phrase of the country. 

We had repeatedly been told, by those who 
knew the land, that the second summer was the 
great trial to the health of Europeans settled in 
America ; but we had now reached the middle of 
our second August, and with the exception of the 
fever one of my sons had suffered from, the sum- 
mer after our arrival, we had all enjoyed perfect 
health ; but I was now doomed to feel the truth 
of the above prediction, for before the end of 
August I fell low before the monster that is for 
ever stalking through that land of lakes and rivers, 
breathing fever and death around. It was nine 
weeks before I left my room, and when I did, I 
looked more fit to walk into the Potter's Field, (as 
they call the English burying-ground) than any 
where else. 

Long after my general health was pretty well 
restored, I suffered from the effect of the fever in 
my limbs, and lay in bed reading several weeks 
after 1 had been pronounced convalescent. Several 

13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 251 

American novels were brought me. Mr. Flint's 
Francis Berrian is excellent ; a little wild and 
romantic, but containing scenes of first-rate in- 
terest and pathos. Hope Leslie, and Redwood, 
by Miss Sedgewick, an American lady, have both 
great merit ; and I now first read the whole of Mr. 
Cooper's novels. By the time these American 
studies were completed, I never closed my eyes 
without seeing myriads of bloody scalps floating 
round me ; long slender figures of Red Indians 
crept through my dreams with noiseless tread; 
panthers glared ; forests blazed ; and whichever 
way I fled, a light foot, a keen eye, and a long 
rifle were sure to be on my trail. An additional 
ounce of cqjomel hardly sufficed to neutralize the 
effect of these raw-head and bloody-bones ad- 
ventures. I was advised to plunge immediately 
into a course of fashionable novels. It was a great 
relief to me ; but as my head was by no means 
very clear, I sometimes jumbled strangely together 
the civilized rogues and assassins of Mr. Bulwer, 
and the Avild men, women, and children slayers of 
Mr. Cooper ; and, truly, between them, I passed 
my dreams in very bad company. 
M 6 



252 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

Still I could not stand, nor even sit upright. 
What was I to read next ? A happy thought 
struck me. I determined upon beginning with 
Waveriey, and reading through (not for the first 
time certainly) the whole series. And what a 
world did I enter upon ! The wholesome vigour 
of every page seemed to communicate itself to my 
nerves ; I ceased to be languid and fretful, and 
though still a cripple, I certainly enjoyed myself 
most completely, as long as my treat lasted ; but 
this was a shorter time than any one would be- 
lieve, who has not found how such volumes 
melt, before the constant reading of a Ion 
idle day. When it was over, however, T had the 
pleasure of finding that I could walk half a dozen 
yards at a time, and take short airings in an open 
carriage ; and better still, could sleep quietly. 

It was no very agreeable conviction which 
greeted my recovery, that our Cincinnati specu- 
lation for my son would in no way answer our 
expectation ; and very soon after, he was again 
seized with the bilious fever of the country, which 
terminated in that most distressing of all maladies, 
an asrue. T never witnessed its effects before, and 



OF THE AMEEICAXS. 25S 

therefore made myself extremely miserable at what 
those around me considered of no consequence. 

I believe this frightful complaint is not imme- 
diately dangerous ; but I never can believe that 
the violent and sudden prostration of strength, 
the dreadfully convulsive movements which dis- 
tort the limbs, the livid hue that spreads itself 
over the complexion, can take place without 
shaking the seat of health and life. Repeatedly 
we thought the malady cured, and for a few days 
the poor sufferer believed himself restored to health 
and strength ; but again and again it returned 
upon him, and he began to give himself up as the 
victim of ill health. My own health was still 
veiy infirm, and it took but little time to decide 
that we must leave Cincinnati. The only impe- 
diment to this was, the fear that Mr. Trollope, 
who was to join us in the spring, might have set 
out, and thus arrive at Cincinnati after we had 
left it. However, as the time he had talked of 
leaving England was later in the season, I decided 
upon running the risk ; but the winter had set in 
with great severity, and the river being frozen, 
the steam-boats could not run ; the frost continued 



254 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

unbroken through the whole of Februaiy, and 
we were almost weary of waiting for its departure, 
which was to be the signal of ours. 

The breaking up of the ice, on the Licking and 
Ohio, formed a most striking spectacle. At night 
the river presented a solid surface of ice, but 
in the morning it shewed a collection of floating 
ice -bergs, of every imaginable size and form, 
whirling against each other with frightful violence, 
and with a noise unlike any sound I remember. 

This sight was a very welcome one, as it gave 
us hopes of immediate departure, but my courage 
failed, when I heard that one or two steam-boats, 
weary of waiting, meant to start on the morrow. 
The idea of running against these floating islands 
was' really alarming, and I was told by many, 
that my fears were not without foundation, for 
that repeated accidents had happened from this 
cause ; and then they talked of the little Miami 
river, whose mouth we were to pass, sending 
down masses of ice that might stop our pro- 
gress ; in short, we waited patiently and prudently, 
till the learned in such matters told us that we 
might start with safety. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 255 



CHAPTER XVIL 

Departure from Cincinnati — Society on board 
the Steam-boat — Arrival at Wlieeling — Bel 
Esprit. 

We quitted Cincinnati the beginning of March, 
1830, and I beheve there was not one of our party 
who did not experience a sensation of pleasure in 
leaving it. We had seen again and again all the 
queer varieties of it's little world ; had amused 
ourselves with it's consequence, it's taste, and it's 
ton, till they had ceased to be amusing. Not a 
hill was left unclimed, nor a forest path unex- 
plored ; and, with the exception of two or three 
individuals, who bore heads and hearts peculiar to 
no clime, but which are found scattered through 
the world, as if to keep us every where in good 
humour with it, we left nought to regret at Cincin- 
nati. The only regret was, that we had ever 
entered it; for we had wasted health, time, and 
money there. 



256 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

We got on board the steam-boat which was to 
convey us to Wheeling at three o'clock. She was 
a noble boat, by far the finest we had seen. The 
cabins were above, and the deck passengers, as 
they are called, were accommodated below. In 
front of the ladies' cabin was an ample balcony, 
sheltered by an awning; chairs and sofas were 
placed there, and even at that early season, 
neaiiy all the female passengers passed the whole 
day there. The name of this splendid vessel was 
the Lady Franklin. By the way, I was often 
amused by the evident fondness which the Ameri- 
cans shew^ for titles. The wives of their eminent 
men constantly receive that of " Lady." We heard of 
Lady Washington, Lady Jackson, and many other 
" ladies." The eternal recurrence of their militia 
titles is particularly ludicrous, met with, as they are, 
among the tavern-keepers, market-gardeners, &c. 
But 1 think the most remarkable instance which 
we noticed of this sort of aristocratical longing oc- 
curred at Cincinnati. Mr. T in speaking 

of a gentleman of the neighbourhood, called him 

Mr. M . " General M , sir," observed 

his companion. " I beg his pardon," rejoined 




de7^ 



M^-JSy^'S "JT'D' irO£" €'€'Ju02s^'JEJL 



SuiH M^W^TMWM JM^.^S.:^ 



OF THE AMERICANS. 257 

Mr. T , " but I was not aware of his being 

in the army." " No, sir, not in the army," was 
the reply, " but he was surveyor-general of the 
district." 

The weather was delightful ; all trace of winter 
had disappeared, and we again found ourselves 
moving rapidly up the stream, and enjoying all the 
beauty of the Ohio. 

Of the male part of the passengers we saw no- 
thing, excepting at the short silent periods allotted 
for breakfast, dinner, and supper, at which we 
were permitted to enter their cabin, and place our- 
selves at their table. 

In the Lady Franklin we had decidedly the 
best of it, for we had our beautiful balcony to sit 
in. In all respects, indeed, our accommodations 
were very superior to what we had found in the 
boat which brought us from New Orleans to 
Memphis, where we were stowed away in a 
miserable little chamber close aft, under the cabin, 
and given to understand by the steward, that it 
was our duty there to remain " till such time as 
the bell should ring for meals.'' 

The separation of the sexes, so often mentioned, 



258 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

is no where more remarkable than on board the 
steam-boats. Among the passengers on this occa- 
sion we had a gentleman and his wife, who really 
appeared to suffer from the arrangement. She 
was an invalid, and he was extremely attentive to 
her, as far, at least, as the regulations permitted. 
When the steward opened the door of communi- 
cation between the cabins, to permit our ap- 
proaching the table, her husband was always 
stationed close to it, to hand her to her place ; 
and when he accompanied her again to the door, 
he always lingered for a moment or two on the 
forbidden threshold, nor left his station, till the 
last female had passed through. Once or twice he 
ventured, when all but his wife were on the bal- 
cony, to sit down beside her for a moment in our 
cabin, but the instant either of us entered, he 
started like a guilty thing and vanished. 

While mentioning the peculiar arrangements 
which are thought necessary to the delicacy of the 
American ladies, or to the comfort of the American 
gentlemen, T am tempted to allude to a story which 
I saw in the papers respecting the visits which it 
was stated Captain Basil Hall persisted in making 



OF THE AMERICANS. 259 

to his wife and child on board a Mississippi 
steam-boat, after being informed that doing so 
was contrary to law. Now I happen to know that 
neither himself or Mrs. Hall ever entered the 
ladies' cabin during the whole voyage, as they 
occupied a state-room which Captain Hall had 
secured for his party. The veracity of newspaper 
statements is, perhaps, nowhere quite unimpeach- 
able, but if I aui not gi'eatly mistaken, there are 
more direct falsehoods circulated by the American 
newspapers than by all the others in the world, 
and the one great and never-failing source of these 
voluminous works of imagination is England and 
the English. How differently would such a 
voyage be managed on the other side the Atlantic, 
were such a mode of travelling possible there. 
Such long calm river excursions would be perfectly 
delightful, and parties would be perpetually formed 
to enjoy them. Even were all the parties strangers 
to each other, the knowledge that they were to eat, 
drink, and steam away together for a week or fort- 
night, would induce something like a social feeling 
in any other country. 

It is true that the men became sufficiently ac- 



260 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

quainted to game together, and we were told that 
the opportunity was considered as so favourable, 
that no boat left New Orleans without having as 
cabin passengers one or two gentlemen from that 
city whose profession it was to drill the fifty-tv.o 
elements of a pack of cards to profitable duty. 
This doubtless is an additional reason for the 
strict exclusion of the ladies from their society. 
The constant drinking of spirits is another, for 
though they do not scruple to chew tobacco and 
to spit incessantly in the presence of women, they 
generally prefer drinking and gaming in their 
absence. 

I often used to amuse myself with fancying the 
different scene which such a vessel would display 
in Europe. The noble length of the gentlemen's 
cabin would be put into requisition for a dance, 
while that of the ladies, with their delicious bal- 
cony, would be employed for refreshments, instead 
of sitting down in two long silent melancholy 
rows, to swallow as much coffee and beef-steak as 
could be achieved in ten minutes. Then song 
and music would be heard borne along by the 
midnight breeze; but on the Ohio, when light 



OF THE AMERICANS. 261 

failed to shew us the bhiffs, and the trees, with 
their images inverted in the stream, we crept into 
our little cots, listening to the ceaseless churning 
of the engine, in hope it would prove a lullaby till 
morning. 

We were three days in reaching Wheeling, 
where we arrived at last, at two o'clock in the 
morning, an uncomfortable hour to disembark 
with a good deal of luggage, as the steam-boat 
was obliged to go on immediately ; but we were 
instantly supplied with a dray, and in a few mo- 
ments found ourselves comfortably seated before a 
good fire, at an hotel near the landing-place ; our 
rooms, with fires in them, were immediately ready 
for us, and refreshments brought, with all that 
sedulous attention which in this country distin- 
guishes a slave state. In making this observation 
I am very far from intending to advocate the 
system of slavery ; I conceive it to be essentially 
wrong ; but so far as my observation has extended, 
I think its influence is far less injurious to the 
manners and morals of the people than the fal- 
lacious ideas of equality, which are so fondly 
cherished by the working classes of the white 



262 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

population ia America. That these ideas are 
fallacious, is obvious, for in point of fact the man 
possessed of dollars does command the services of 
the man possessed of no dollars ; but these ser- 
vices are given grudgingly, and of necessity, with 
no appearance of cheerful good-will on the one 
side, or of kindly interest on the other. I never 
failed to mark the difference on entering a slave 
state. I was immediately comfortable, and at my 
ease, and felt that the intercoiu"se between me and 
those who served me, was profitable to both 
parties and painful to neither. 

It was not till I had leisure for more minute 
observation that 1 felt aware of the influence of 
slavery upon the owners of slaves ; when I did, I 
confess I could not but think that the citizens of 
the United States had contrived, by their political 
alchymy,to extract all that was most noxious both 
in democracy and in slavery, and had poured the 
strange mixture through every vein of the moral 
organization of their country. 

Wheeling is in the state of Virginia, and appears 
to be a flourishing town. It is the point at which 
most travellers from the West leave the Ohio, to 



OF THE AMERICANS. 203 

take the stages which travel the mountain road to 
the Atlantic cities. 

It has many manufactories, among others, one 
for blowing and cutting glass, which we visited. 
We were told by the workmen that the articles 
finished there were equal to any in the world ; 
but my eyes refused their assent. The cutting was 
very good, though by no means equal to what 
we see in daily use in London ; but the chief 
inferiority is in the material, which is never alto- 
gether fi'ee from colour. I had observed this also 
in the glass of the Pittsburgh manufactory, the 
labour bestowed on it always appearing greater 
than the glass deserved. They told us also, that 
they were rapidly improving in the art, and I have 
no doubt that this was true. 

Wheeling has little of beauty to distinguish it, 
except the ever lovely Ohio, to which we here 
bade adieu, and a fine bold hill, which rises imme- 
diately behind the town. This hill, as well as 
every other in the neighbourhood, is bored for 
coal. Their mines are all horizontal. The coal 
bums well, but with a very black and dirty cinder. 

We found the coach, by which we meant to 



264 DOMESTIC MATsNERS 

proceed to Little Washington, full, and learnt that 
we must wait two days before it would again leave 
the town. Posting was never heard of in the 
country, and the mail travelled all night, which I 
did not approve of ; we therefore found ourselves 
compelled to pass two days at the Wheeling 
hotel. 

I know not how this weary interval would have 
w*orn away, had it not been for the fortunate cir- 
cumstance of our meeting with a hel esprit among 
the boarders there. We descended to the common 
sitting room (for private parlours there are none) 
before breakfast the morning after our arrival ; 
several ordinary individuals entered, till the party 
amounted to eight or nine. Again the door opened, 
and in swam a female, who had once certainly been 
handsome, and who, it was equally evident, still 
thought herself so. She was tall, and well formed, 
dressed in black, with many gaudy trinkets about 
her : a scarlet ^cAw relieved the sombre colour of 
her dress, and a very smart little cap at the back 
of her head set off an immense quantity of sable 
hair, which naturally, or artificially, adorned her 
forehead. A becoming quantity of rouge gave the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 265 

finishing touch to her figure, which had a degree 
of pretension about it that immediately attracted 
our notice. She talked fluently, and without any 
American restraint, and I began to be greatly 
puzzled as to w^ho or what she could be ; a 
lady, in the English sense of the word, I was 
sure she was not, and she was as little like an 
American female of what they call good standing. 
A beautiful girl of seventeen entered soon after, 
and called her " Ma," and both mother and 
daughter chattered away, about themselves and 
their concerns, in a manner that greatly increased 
my puzzle. 

After breakfast, being much in want of amuse- 
ment, I seated myself by her, and entered into 
conversation. I found her nothing loth, and in 
about a minute and a half she put a card into my 
hand, setting forth, that she taught the art of 
painting upon velvet in all its branches. 

She stated to me, with great volubility, that no 
one but herself and her daughter knew any thing 
of this invaluable branch of art; but that for 
twenty-five dollars they were willing to communi- 
cate all they knew. 

VOL. I, N 



^66 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

In live minutes more she informed me that she 
was the author of some of the most cutting satires 
in the language ; and then she presented me a 
paper, containing a prospectus, as she called it, 
of a novel, upon an entirely new construction. I 
was strangely tempted to ask her if it went by 
steam, but she left me no time to ask any thing, 
for, continuing the auto-biography she had so 
obligingly begun, she said, " I used to write 
against all the Adams faction. I will go up stairs 
in a moment and fetch you down my sat-heres 
against that side. But oh ! my dear madam ! it 
is really frightful to think how talent is neglected 
in this country. Ah ! I know what you are going 
to say, my dear madam, you will tell me that it 
is not so in yours. I know it ! but alas ! the At- 
lantic ! However, I really must tell you how I 
have been treated : not only did I publish the 
most biting sat-heres against the Adams faction, 
but I wrote songs and odes in honour of Jackson ; 
and my daughter, Cordelia, sang a splendid song 
of my writing, before eight hundred people, en- 
tirely and altogether WTitten in his praise; and 
would you believe it, my dear madam, he has 



OF THE AMERICANS. 267 

never taken the slightest notice of me, or made me 
the least remuneration. But you can't suppose I 
mean to bear it quietly ? No ! I promise him that 
is not my way. The novel I have just mentioned 
to you was began as a sentimental romance (that, 
perhaps, after all, is my real forte), but after the 
provocation I received at Washington, I turned it 
into a sat-hereical novel, and I now call it Yankee 
Doodle Court. By the way, my dear madam, I 
think if I could make up my mind to cross that 
terrible Atlantic, I should be pretty well received, 
after writing Yankee Doodle Court !" 

I took the opportunity of a slight pause to ask 
her to what party she now belonged, since she had 
forsworn both Adams and Jackson. 

" Oh Clay ! Clay for ever ! he is a real true- 
hearted republican ; the others are neither more 
nor less than tyrants." 

When next I entered the sitting-room she again 
addressed me, to deplore the degenerate taste of 
the age. 

" Would you believe it ? I have at this moment 
a comedy ready for representation ; I call it ' The 
Mad Philosopher.' It is really admirable, and its 
N 2 



268 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

success certain, if I could get it played. I assure 
you the neglect I meet with amounts perfectly to 
persecution. But I have found out how to pay 
them, and to make my own fortune. Sat-here, (as 
she constantly pronounced satire) sat-here is the 
only weapon that can revenge neglect, and I flatter 
myself I know how to use it. Do me the favour 
to look at this." 

She then presented me with a tiny pamphlet, 
whose price, she informed me, was twenty-five 
cents, which I readily paid to become the pos- 
sessor of this chefd'oeuvre. The composition was 
pretty nearly such as I anticipated, excepting that 
the English language was done to death by her 
pen still more than by her tongue. The epigraph, 
which was subscribed " original," was as fol- 
lows : 

** Your popularity's on the decline : 

You had your triumph ! now Til have mine." 

These are rather a favourable specimen of the 
verses that follow. 

In a subsequent conversation she made me ac- 
quainted with another talent, informing me that 



OF THE AMERICANS. 269 

she had played the part of Charlotte, in Love a 
la mode, when General Lafayette honoured the 
theatre at Cincinnati with his presence. 

She now appeared to have run out the cata- 
logue of her accomplishments ; and I came to the 
conclusion that my new acquaintance was a stroll- 
ing player : but she seemed to guess my thoughts, 
for she presently added, " It was a Thespian corps 
that played before the General." 



N 3 



270 DOMESTIC MANNERS 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Departure for the Mountains in the Stage — 
Scenery of the Alleghany — Haggerstown, 

The weather was bleak and disagreeable during 
the two days we were obliged to remain at Wheel- 
ing. I had got heartily tired of my gifted friend ; 
we had walked up every side of the rugged hill, 
and I set off on my journey towards the mountains 
with more pleasure than is generally felt in quit- 
ting a pillow before day-light, for a cold corner in 
a rumbling stage-coach. 

This was the first time we had got into an 
American stage, though we had traversed above 
two thousand miles of the country, and we had all 
the satisfaction in it, which could be derived from 
the conviction that we were travelling in a foreign 
land. This vehicle had no step, and we climbed 
into it by a ladder ; when that was removed I re- 
membered, with some dismay, that the females at 



OF THE AMERICANS. 271 

least were much in the predicament of sailors, 
who, " in danger have no door to creep out :" but 
when a misfortune is absolutely inevitable, we are 
apt to bear it remarkably well ; who would utter 
that constant petition of ladies on rough roads, 
'* let me get out," when compliance would oblige 
the pleader to make a step of five feet before she 
could touch the ground ? 

The coach had three rows of seats, each calcu- 
lated to hold three persons, and as we were only 
six, we had, in the phrase of Milton, to '' inhabit 
lax" this exalted abode, and, accordingly, we w^ere 
for some miles tossed about like a few potatoes in 
a wheel-barrow. Our knees, elbows, and heads 
required too much care for their protection to 
allow us leisure to look out of the windows ; but 
at length the road became smoother, and we be- 
came more skilful in the art of balancing oiu'selves, 
so as to meet the concussion with less danger of 
dislocation. 

We then found that we were travelling through 

a very beautiful country, essentially different in its 

features from what we had been accustomed to 

round Cincinnati : it is true we had left " la 

N 4 



•272 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

belle riviere'''' behind us, but the many limpid and 
rapid little streams that danced through the land- 
scape to join it, more than atoned for its loss. 

The country already wore an air of more careful 
husbandry, and the yery circumstance of a wide 
and costly road (though not a yery smooth one), 
which in theory might be supposed to injure pic- 
turesque effect, was beautiful to us, who, since we 
had entered the muddy mouth of the Mississippi, 
had never seen any thing except a steam-boat and 
the levee professing to haye so noble an object as 
public accommodation. Through the whole of 
the vast region we had passed, excepting at New 
Orleans itself, every trace of the art of man ap- 
peared to be confined to the individual effort of 
" getting along," which, in western phrase, means 
contriving to live with as small a portion of the 
incumbrances of civilized society as possible. 

This road was made at the expense of the go- 
vernment as far as Cumberland, a town situated 
among the Alleghany mountains, and, from the 
nature of the ground, must have been a work of 
great cost. I regretted not having counted the 
number of bridges between Wheeling and Little 



OF THE AMERICANS. 273 

Washington, a distance of thirty -four miles ; over 
one stream only there are twenty-five, all passed 
by the road. They frequently occurred within a 
hundred yards of each other, so serpentine is its 
course ; they are built of stone, and sometimes 
very neatly finished. 

Little Washington is in Pennsylvania, across a 
corner of which the road runs. This is a free 
state, but we were still waited upon by Negroes, 
hired from the neighbouring state of Virginia. 
We arrived at night, and set off again at four in 
the morning ; all, therefore, that we saw of Little 
Washington was its hotel, which was clean and 
comfortable. The first part of the next day's 
journey was through a country much less interest- 
ing : its character was unvaried for nearly thirty 
miles, consisting of an uninterrupted succession of 
forest-covered hills. As soon as we had wearily 
dragged to the top of one of these, we began to 
rumble down the other side as rapidly as our four 
horses could trot ; and no sooner arrived at the 
bottom than we began to crawl up again ; the trees 
constantly so thick and so high as to preclude the 
possibility of seeing fifty yards in any direction. 
N 5 



274 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

The latter part of the day, however, amply re- 
paid us. At four o'clock we began to ascend the 
Alleghany mountains : the first ridge on the 
western side is called Laurel Hill, and takes its 
name from the profuse quantity of evergreens with 
which it is covered ; not any among them, how- 
ever, being the shrub to which we give the name 
of laurel. 

The whole of this mountain region, through 
ninety miles of which the road passes, is a garden. 
The almost incredible variety of plants, and the 
lavish profusion of their growth, produce an effect 
perfectly enchanting. I really can hardly conceive 
a higher enjoyment than a botanical tour among 
the Alleghany mountains, to any one who had 
science enough to profit by it. 

The magnificent rhododendron first caught our 
eyes ; it fringes every cliff, nestles beneath every 
rock, and blooms around every tree. The azalia, 
the shumac, and every variety of that beautiful 
mischief, the kalmia, are in equal profusion. 
Cedars of every size and form were above, around, 
and underneath us ; firs more beautiful and more 
various than I had ever seen, were in equal abund- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 275 

ance, but I know not whether they were really 
such as I had never seen in Europe, or only 
in infinitely greater splendour and perfection of 
growth ; the species called the hemlock is, I think, 
second to the cedar only, in magnificence. Oak and 
beech, with innumerable roses and wild vines, hang- 
ing in beautiful confusion among their branches, 
were in many places scattered among the ever- 
greens. The earth was carpeted with various 
mosses and creeping plants, and though still in the 
month of March, not a trace of the nakedness of 
winter could be seen. Such was the scenery that 
shewed us we w^ere indeed among the far-famed 
Alleghany mountains. 

As our noble terrace-road, the Semplon of Ame- 
rica, rose higher and higher, all that is noblest in 
nature was joined to all that is sweetest. The 
blue tops of the higher ridges formed the outline; 
huge masses of rock rose above us on the left, half 
hid at intervals by the bright green shrubs, while 
to the right we looked down upon the tops of the 
pines and cedars which clothed the bottom. 

I had no idea of the endless variety of mountain 
scenery. My notions had been of rocks and pre- 
N 6 



•276 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

cipices, of toiTents and of forest trees, but I little 
expected that the first spot which should recal the 
garden scener}^ of our beautiful England would be 
found among the mountains : yet so it was. From 
the time I entered America I had never seen the 
slightest approach to what we call pleasure- 
grounds; a few very worthless and scentless 
flowers were all the specimens of gardening I had 
seen in Ohio ; no attempt at garden scenery was 
ever dreamed of, and it was with the sort of delight 
with which one meets an old friend, that we looked 
on the lovely mixture of trees, shrubs, and flowers, 
that now continually met our eyes. Often, on de- 
scending into the narrow vallies, we found a little 
spot of cultivation, a garden or a field, hedged 
round with shumacs, rhododendrons, and azalias, 
and a cottage covered with roses. These vallies 
are spots of great beauty ; a clear stream is always 
found running through them, which is generally 
converted to the use of the miller, at some point 
not far from the road ; and here, as on the heights, 
great beauty of colouring is given to the land- 
scape, by the bright hue of the vegetation, and 
the sober grey of the rocks. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 277 

The first night we passed among the mountains 
recalled us painfully from the enjoyment of nature 
to all the petty miseries of personal discomfort. 
Arrived at our inn, a forlorn parlour, filled with 
the blended fumes of tobacco and whiskey, re- 
ceived us ; and chilled, as we began to feel our- 
selves with the mountain air, we preferred going 
to our cold bed-rooms rather than sup in such an 
atmosphere. We found linen on the beds which 
they assured us had only been used a few nights ; 
every kind of refreshment we asked for we were 
answered, " We do not happen to have that article." 

We were still in Pennsylvania, and no longer 
waited upon by slaves ; it was, therefore, with 
great difl&culty that we procured a fire in our bed- 
rooms from the surly -looking young lady who con- 
descended to officiate as chamber-maid, and with 
much more, that we extorted clean linen for our 
beds ; that done, we patiently crept into them 
supperless, while she made her exit muttering 
about the difficulty of " fixing English folks." 

The next morning cheered our spirits again; 
we now enjoyed a new kind of alpine witchery; 
the clouds were floating around, and below us. 



278 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

and the distant peaks were indistinctly visible as 
through a white gauze veil, which was gradually 
lifted up, till the sun arose, and again let in upon 
us the full glory of these interminable heights. 

We were told before we began the ascent, that 
we should find snow four inches deep on the road ; 
but as yet we had seen none, and indeed it was 
with difiiculty we persuaded ourselves that we 
were not travelling in the midst of summer. As 
we proceeded, however, we found the northern 
declivities still covered with it, and at length, to- 
wards the summit, the road itself had the promised 
four inches. The extreme mildness of the air, and 
the brilliant hue of the evergi'eens, contrasted 
strangely with this appearance of winter ; it was 
difiicult to understand how the snow could help 
melting in. such an atmosphere. 

Again and again we enjoyed all the exhilarating 
sensations that such scenes must necessarily in- 
spire, but in attempting a continued description of 
om' progress over these beautiful mountains, I 
could only tell again of rocks, cedars, laurels, and 
rmming streams, of blue heights, and gi'een vallies, 
yet the continually varying combinations of these 



OF THE AMERICANS. 279 

objects afforded us unceasing pleasure. From 
one point, pre-eminently above any neighbouring 
ridge, we looked back upon the enormous valley 
of the West. It is a stupendous view ; but having 
gazed upon it for some moments, we turned to 
pui'sue our course, and the certainty that we should 
see it no more, raised no sigh of regret. 

We dined, on the second day, at a beautiful 
spot, which we were told was the highest point on 
the road, being 2,846 feet above the level of the 
sea. We were regaled luxuriously on wild turkey 
and mountain venison ; which latter is infinitely 
superior to any furnished by the forests of the 
Mississippi, or the Ohio. The vegetables also 
were extremely fine, and we were told by a pretty 
girl, who superintended the slaves that waited on 
us, (for we were again in Virginia), that the 
vegetables of the Alleghany were reckoned the 
finest in America. She told us also, that wild 
strawberries were profusely abundant, and very fine; 
Jhat their cows found for themselves, during the 
summer, plenty of flowery food, which produced 
a copious supply of milk ; that their spring gave 
them the purest water, of icy coldness in the 



280 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

warmest seasons; and that the climate was the 
most delicious in the woikl, for though the ther- 
mometer sometimes stood at ninety, their cool 
breeze never failed them. What a spot to turn 
hermit in for a summer ! My eloquent mountaineer 
gave me some specimens of ground plants, far un- 
like any thing I had ever seen. One particularly, 
which she called the ground pine, is peculiar, as 
she told me, to the Alleghany, and in some places 
runs over whole acres of ground ; it is extremely 
beautiful. The rooms were very prettily decorated 
with this elegant plant, hung round it in festoons. 

In many places the clearing has been consider- 
able ; the road passes through several fine farms, 
situated in the sheltered hollows ; we were told 
that the wolves continue to annoy them severely, 
but that panthers, the terror of the West, are never 
seen, and bears very rarely. Of snakes, they con- 
fessed they had abundance, but very few that were 
considered dangerous. 

In the afternoon we came in sight of the Mo- 
nongehala river; and its banks gave us for several 
miles a beautiful succession of wild and domestic 
scenery. In some points, the black rock rises per- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 281 

peiidicularly from its margin, like those at Chep- 
stow ; at others, a mill, with its owner's cottage, 
its corn-plat, and its poultry, present a delightful 
image of industry and comfort. 

Brownsville is a busy looking little town built 
upon the banks of this river ; it would be pretty, 
were it not stained by the hue of coal. I do not 
remember in England to have seen any spot, how- 
ever near a coal mine, so dyed in black as Wheel- 
ing and Brownsville. At this place we crossed 
the Monongehala, in a flat ferry-boat, which very 
commodiously received our huge coach and four 

horses. 

On leaving the black little town, we were again 
cheered by abundance of evergreens, reflected in 
the stream, with fantastic pilesof rock, half visible 
through the pines and cedars above, giving often 
the idea of a vast gothic castle. It was a folly, 
I confess, but I often lamented they were not 
such ; the travelling for thousands of miles, with- 
out meeting any nobler trace of the ages that are 
passed, than a mass of rotten leaves, or a fragment 
of fallen rock, produces a heavy, earthly, matter- 
of-fact efl'ect upon the imagination, which can 



282 DOMESTIC MANN'SRS 

hardly be described, and for which the greatest 
beauty of scenery can furnish only an occasional 
and transitory remedy. 

Our second night in the mountains was past at 
a solitary house of rather forlorn appearance ; but 
we fared much better than the night before, for 
they gave us clean sheets, a good fire, and no 
scolding. We again started at four o'clock in the 
morning, and eagerly watched for the first gleam 
of light that should show the same lovely spectacle 
we had seen the day before ; nor were we disap- 
pointed, though the show was somewhat differ- 
ent. The vapours caught the morning ray, as it 
first darted over the mountain top, and passing it 
to the scene below, we seemed enveloped in a 
rainbow. 

We had now but one ridge left to pass over, 
and as we reached the top, and looked down on the 
new world before us, I hardly knew whether most 
to rejoice that 

'* All the toil of the long-pass'd way " 

was over, or to regret that our mountain journey 
was drawing to a close. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 283 

The novelty of my enjoyment had doubtless 
added much to its keenness. I have never been 
familiar with mountain scenery. Wales has shewn 
me all I ever saw, and the region of the Alleghany 
Alps in no way resembles it. It is a world of 
moimlains rising around you in every direction, 
and in every form ; savage, vast, and wild ; yet 
almost at every step, some lovely spot meets your 
eye, green, bright, and blooming, as the most 
cherished nook belonging to some noble Flora in 
our own beautiful land. It is a ride of ninety 
miles through kalmies, rhododendrons, azalias, 
vines ajid roses; sheltered from every blast that 
blows by vast masses of various coloured rocks, on 
which 

«« Tall pines and cedars wave their dark green crests." 

While in every direction you have a back-ground 
of blue mountain tops, that play at bo-peep with 
you in the clouds. 

After descending the last ridge we reached Hag- 
gerstown, a small neat place, between a town and 
a village; and here by the piety of the Presby- 



284 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

lerian coach -masters, we were doomed to pass an 
entire day, and two nights, " as the accommoda- 
tion line must not run on the sabbath." 

I must, however, mention, that this day of en- 
forced rest was not Sunday. Saturday evening 
we had taken in at Cumberland a portly passenger, 
whom we soon discovered to be one of the pro- 
prietors of the coach. He asked us, with great 
politeness, if we should wish to travel on the sab- 
bath, or to delay our journey. We answered that 
we would rather proceed ; " The coach, then, shall 
go on to-morrow," replied the liberal coach- 
master, with the greatest courtesy ; and accord- 
ingly we travelled all Sunday, and arrived at 
Haggerstown on Sunday night. At the door of 
the inn our civil proprietor left us ; but when we 
enquired of the waiter at what hour we were to 
start on the morrow, he told us that we should be 
obliged to pass the whole of Monday there, as the 
coach which was to convey us forward would not 
arrive from the east, till Tuesday morning. 

Thus we discovered that the waiving the sab- 
bath-keeping by the proprietor, was for his own 
convenience, and not for ours, and that we were 



OF THE AMERICANS. 285 

to be tied by the leg for four-and-tvventy hours not- 
withstanding. This was quite a Yankee trick. 

Luckily for us, the inn at Haggerstown was one 
of the most comfortable I ever entered. It was 
there that we became fully aware that we had left 
Western America behind us. Instead of being 
scolded, as we literally were at Cincinnati, for 
asking for a private sitting-room, we here had two, 
without asking at all. A waiter, quite comme il 
faut, summoned us to breakfast, dinner, and tea, 
which we found prepared with abundance, and 
even elegance. The master of the house met us 
at the door of the eating-room, and, after asking if 
we wished for any thing not on the table, retired. 
The charges were in no respect higher than at 
Cincinnati. 

A considerable creek, called Conococheque 
Creek, runs near the town, and the valley through 
which it passes is said to be the most fertile in 
America. 

On leaving Haggerstown we found, to our mor- 
tification, that we were not to be the sole occu- 
pants of the bulky accommodation, two ladies and 
two gentlemen appearing at the door ready to 



286 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

share it with us. We again started, at four 
o'clock, by the light of a bright moon, and rum- 
bled and nodded through roads considerably worse 
than those over the mountains. 

As the light began to dawn we discovered our 
ladies to be an old woman and her pretty 
daughter. 

Soon after day-light we found that our pace 
became much slower than usual, and that from 
time to time our driver addressed to his companion 
on the box many and vehement exclamations. The 
gentlemen put their heads out, to ask what was the 
matter, but could get no intelligence, till the mail 
overtook us, when both vehicles stopped, and an 
animated colloquy of imprecations took place be- 
tween the coachmen. At length we learnt that 
one of our wheels was broken in such a manner as 
to render it impossible for us to proceed. Upon 
this the old lady immediately became a principal 
actor in the scene. She sprung to the window, 
and addressing the set of gentlemen who completely 
filled the mail, exclaimed " Gentlemen ! can't you 
make room for two ? Only me and my daughter ?" 
The naive simplicity of this request set both the 
13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 287 

coaches into an uproar of laughter. It was im- 
possible to doubt that she acted upon the same prin- 
ciple as the pious Catholic, who addressing heaven 
with a prayer for himself alone, added ^' pour ne 
pasfatiguer i a miser worded Oiu: laugh, however, 
never daunted the old woman, or caused her for a 
moment to cease the reiteration of her request, 
" only for two of us, gentlemen ! can't you find 
room for two ?" 

Our situation was really very embarrassing, but 
not to laugh was impossible. After it was ascer- 
tained that our own vehicle could not convey us, 
and that the mail had not even room for two, we 
decided upon walking to the next village, a 
distance, fortunately, of only two miles, and await- 
ing there the repair of the wheel. We immediately 
set off, at the brisk pace that six o'clock and a 
frosty morning in March were likely to inspire, leav- 
ing our old lady and her pretty daughter consider- 
ably in the rear; our hearts having been rather 
hardened by the exclusive nature of her prayer 
for aid. 

When we had again started upon our new wheel, 
the driver, to recover the time he had lost, drove 



288 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

rapidly over a very rough road, in consequence of 
which, our self-seeking old lady fell into a perfect 
agony of terror, and her cries of " we shall be over! 
oh, Lord ! we shall be over ! we must be over ! 
we shall be over !" lasted to the end of the stage, 
which with laughing, walking, and shaking, was a 
most fatiguing one. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 289 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Baltimore — Catholic Cathedral — St, Mary s Col- 
lege — Sermons — Infant School. 

As we advanced towards Baltimore the look of 
cultivation increased, the fences wore an air of 
greater neatness, the houses began to look like the 
abodes of competence and comfort, and we were 
consoled for the loss of the beautiful mountains by 
knowing that we were approaching the Atlantic. 

From the time of quitting the Ohio river, though, 
unquestionably, it merits its title of " the beau- 
tiful," especially when compared with the dreary 
Mississippi, I strongly felt the truth of an observa- 
tion I remembered to have heard in England, that 
little rivers were more beautiful than great ones. 
As features in a landscape, this is assuredly the 
case. Where the stream is so wide that the objects 
on the opposite shore are indistinct, all the beauty 

VOL. I. o 



290 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

must be derived from the water itself; whereas, 
when the stream is naiTOw, it becomes only a part 
of the composition. The Monongahela, which is 
in size between the Wye and the Thames, is infi- 
nitely more pictm'esque than the Ohio. 

To enjoy the beauty of the vast rivers of this 
vast country you must be upon the water ; and 
then the power of changing the scenery by now 
approaching one shore, and now the other, is very 
pleasing ; but travelling as we now did, by land, the 
wild, rocky, nan'ow, rapid little rivers we encoun- 
tered, were a thousand times more beautiful. The 
Potapsco, near which the road runs, as you ap- 
proach Baltimore, is at many points very pic- 
turesque. The large blocks of grey rock, now 
close upon its edge, and now retiring to give room 
for a few acres of bright green herbage, give great 
interest and variety to its course. 

Baltimore is, T think, one of the handsomest 
cities to approach in the Union. The noble co- 
lumn erected to the memory of Washington, and 
the Catholic Cathedral, v.ith its beautiful dome, 
being built on a commanding eminence, are seen 
at a great distance. As you draw nearer, many 



OF THE AMERICANS. 291 

other domes and towers become visible, and as 
you enter Baltimore-street, you feel that you are 
arrived in a handsome and populous city. 

We took up our quarters at an excellent hotel, 
where the coach stopped, and the next day were 
fortunate enough to find accommodation in the 
house of a lady, well known to many of my 
European friends. With her and her amiable 
daughter, we spent a fortnight very agreeably, 
and felt quite aware that if we had not arrived in 
London or Paris, we had, at least, left far behind 
the " half-horse, half-alhgator" tribes of the West, 
as the Kentuckians call themselves. 

Baltimore is in many respects a beautiful city ; 
it has several handsome buildings, and even the 
private dwelling-houses have a look of magnifi- 
cence, from the abundance of white marble with 
which many of them are adorned. The ample 
flights of steps, and the lofty door frames, are in 
most of the best houses formed of this beautiful 
material. 

This has been called the city of monuments, 
from its having the stately column erected to the 
memory of General Washington, and which bears 
o 2 



292 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

a colossal statue of him at the top ; and another 
pillar of less dimensions, recording some victory ; 
I forget which. Both these are of brilliant white 
marble. There are also several pretty marble 
fountains in different parts of the city, which 
greatly add to its beauty. These are not, it is 
true, quite so splendid as that of the Innocents, or 
many others at Paris, but they are fountains of 
clear water, and they are built of white marble. 
There is one which is sheltered from the sun by a 
roof supported by light columns ; it looks like a 
temple dedicated to the genius of the spring. The 
water flows into a marble cistern, to w^hich you 
descend by a flight of steps of delicate whiteness, 
and return by another. These steps are never 
without groups of negro girls, some canying the 
water on their heads, with that graceful steadiness 
of step, which requires no aid from the hand ; 
some tripping gaily with their yet unfilled pitchers ; 
many of them singing in the soft rich voice, pecu- 
liar to their race ; and all dressed with that strict 
attention to taste and smartness, which seems the 
distinguishing characteristic of the Baltimore fe- 
males of all ranks. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 293 

The Catholic Cathedral is considered by all 
Americans as a magnificent chm*ch, but it can 
hardly be so classed by any one who has seen the 
churches of Europe ; its interior, however, has an 
air of neatness that amounts to elegance. The 
form is a Greek cross, having a dome in the 
centre ; but the proportions are ill-preserved ; the 
dome is too low, and the arches which suj)port it 
are flattened, and too wide for their height. On 
each side of the high altar are chapels to the Sa- 
viour and the Virgin. The altars in these, as well 
as the high altar, are of native marble of different 
colours, and some of the specimens are very beau- 
tiful. The decorations of the altar are elegant and 
costly. The prelate is a cardinal, and bears, more- 
over, the title of " Archbishop of Baltimore." 

There are several paintings in different parts of 
the church, which we heard were considered as 
very fine. There are two presented by Louis 
XVITI.; one of these is the Descent from the Cross, 
by Paulin Guirin ; the other a copy from Rubens, 
(as they told us) of a legend of St. Louis in the 
Holy Land ; but the composition of the picture is 
so abominably bad, that I conceive the legend of 
o 3 



294 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

its being after Rubens, must be as fabulous as its 
subject. The admiration in which these pictures 
are held, is an incontestable indication of the state 
of art in the country. 

We attended mass in this church the Sunday 
after our arrival, and I was perfectly astonished at 
the beauty and splendid appearance of the ladies 
who filled it. Excepting on a very brilliant Sun- 
day at the Tuilleries, I never saw so shewy a dis- 
play of morning costume, and I think I never saw 
any where so many beautiiul women at one glance. 
They all appeared to be in full dress, and were 
really all beautiful. 

The sermon (I am very attentive to sermons) 
was a most extraordinary one. The priest began 
by telling us, that he was about to preach upon a 
vice that he would not " mention or name " from 
the beginning of his seimon to the end. 

Having thus excited the curiosity of his hearers, 
by proposing a riddle to them, he began. 

Adam, he said, was most assuredly the first who 
had committed this sin, and Cain the next ; then, 
following the advice given by the listener, in the 
Plaideurs, '* Passons au deluge, jevous prie ;" he 



OF THE AMERICANS. 295 

went on to mention the particular propriety of 
Noah's family on this point ; and then continued, 
" Now observe, what did God shew the greatest 
dislike to ? What was it that Jesus was never 
even accused of? What was it Joseph hated 
the most ? Who was the disciple that Jesus 
chose for his friend ?" and thus he went on for 
nearly an hour, in a strain that was often perfectly 
unintelligible to me, but which, as far as I could 
comprehend it, appeared to be a sort of expose 
and commentary upon private anecdotes which he 
had found, or fancied he had found in the Bible. 
I never saw the attention of a congregation more 
strongly excited, and I really wished, in Christian 
charity, that something better had rewarded it. 

There are a vast number of churches and chapels 
in the city, in proportion to its extent, and several 
that are large and well-built ; the Unitarian church 
is the handsomest I have ever seen dedicated to 
that mode of worship. But the prettiest among 
them is a little hijou of a thing belonging to the 
Catholic college. The institution is dedicated to 
St. Mary, but this little chapel looks, though in 
the midst of a city, as if it should have been sacred 
O 4 



296 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

to St. John of the wilderness. There is a se- 
questered little garden behind it, hardly large 
enough to plant cabbages in, which yet contains a 
Mount Calvary, bearing a lofty cross. The tiny 
path which leads up to this sacred spot, is not 
much wider than a sheep-track, and its cedars are 
but shrubs, but all is in proportion ; and notwith- 
standing its fairy dimensions, there is something 
of holiness, and quiet beauty about it, that excites 
the imagination strangely. The little chapel itself 
has the same touching and impressive character. 
A solitary lamp, whose glare is tempered by de- 
licately painted glass, hangs before the altar. The 
light of day enters dimly, yet richly, through 
crimson curtains, and the silence with which the 
well-lined doors opened from time to time, ad- 
mitting a youth of the establishment, who, with 
noiseless tread, approached the altar, and kneeling, 
offered a whispered prayer, and retired, had some- 
thing in it more calculated, perhaps, to generate 
holy thoughts, than even the swelling anthem heard 
beneath the resounding dome of St. Peter's. 

Baltimore has a handsome museum, superin- 
tended by one of the Peale family, well known for 



OF THE AMERICANS. 297 

their devotion to natural science, and to works of 
art. It is not their fault if the specimens which 
they are enabled to display in the latter department 
are very inferior to their splendid exhibitions in 
the former. 

The theatre was closed when we were in Balti- 
more, but we were told that it was very far from 
being a popular or fashionable amusement. We 
were, indeed, told this every where throughout the 
country, and the information was generally accom- 
panied by the observation, that the opposition of 
the clergy was the cause of it. But I suspect that 
this is not the principal cause, especially among 
the men, who, if they were so implicit in their 
obedience to the clergy, would certainly be more 
constant in their attendance at the churches ; nor 
would they, moreover, deem the theatre more 
righteous because an English actor, or a French 
dancer, performed there ; yet on such occasions 
the theatres overflow. The cause, I think, is in 
the character of the people. I never saw a popu- 
lation so totally divested of gaiety ; there is no trace 
of this feeling from one end of the Union to the 
other. The have no fetes, no fairs, no meiry- 
o 5 



298 D03IESTIC MANNERS 

makings, no music in the streets, no Punch, no 
puppet-shows. If thej see a comedy or a farce, 
they may laugh at it ; but they can do very well 
without it ; and the consciousness of the number 
of cents that must be paid to enter a theatre, I am 
very sure turns more steps from its door than any 
religious feeling. A distinguished publisher of 
Philadelphia told me that no comic publication 
had ever yet been found to answer in America. 

We arrived at Baltimore at the season of the 
" Conference." I must be excused from giving 
any very distinct explanation of this term, as I 
did not receive any. From what I could learn, it 
much resembles a Revival. We entered many 
churches, and heard much preaching, and not one 
of the reverend orators could utter the reproach, 

" Peut-on si Lien precher qu'elle ne dornie au sermon V 

for I never even dosed at any. There was one 
preacher whose manner and matter were so peculiar, 
that I took the liberty of immediately writing down 
a part of his discourse as a specimen. I confess 
I began writing in the middle of a sentence, 



OF THE AMERICANS. 299 

for I waited in vain for a beginning. It was 
as follows : — 

" Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the 
one important, great, and only object; for the 
Lord is mighty, his works are great, likewise 
wonderful, likewise wise, likewise merciful ; and, 
moreover, we must ever keep in mind, and close 
to our hearts, all his precious blessings, and un- 
speakable mercies, and overflowings ; and, more- 
over we must never lose sight of, no, never lose 
sight of, nor ever cease to remember, nor ever let 
pur souls forget, nor ever cease to dwell upon, and 
to reverence, and to welcome, and to bless, and to 
give thanks, and to sing hosanna, and give praise," 

and here my fragment of paper failed, but this 

strain continued, without a shadow of meaning 
that I could trace, and in a voice inconceivably 
loud, for more than an hour. After he had finished 
his sermon, a scene exactly resembling that at the 
Cincinnati Revival, took place. Two other priests 
assisted in calling forward the people, and in 
whispering comfort to them. One of these men 
roared out in the coarsest accents, " Do you want 
to go to hell to-night ?" The church was almost 
o 6 



300 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

entirely filled with women, who vied with each 
other in howlings and contortions of the body ; 
many of them tore their clothes nearly off. I was. 
much amused, spite of the indignation and disgust 
the scene inspired, by the vehemence of the negro 
part of the congregation; they seemed determined 
to bellow louder than all the rest, to shew at once 
their piety and their equality. 

At this same chapel, a few nights before, a 
woman had fallen in a fit of ecstasy from the gal- 
lery, into the arms of the people below, a height 
of twelve feet. A young slave who waited upon 
us at table, when this was mentioned, said, that 
similar accidents had frequently happened, and 
that once she had seen it herself. Another slave 
in the house told us, that she " liked religion 
right well, but that she never took fits in it, 'cause 
she was always fixed in her best, when she went 
to chapel, and she did not like to have all her 
best clothes broke up." 

We visited the infant school, instituted in this 
city by Mr. Ibbertson, an amiable and intelligent 
Englishman. It was the first infant school, pro- 
perly so called, which 1 had ever seen, and I was 



OF THE AMERICANS. 301 

greatly pleased with all the arrangements, and the 
apparent success of them. The children, of whom 
we saw about a hundred, boys and girls, were be- 
tween eighteen months and six years. The apart- 
ment was filled with all sorts of instructive and 
amusixig objects ; a set of Dutch toys, arranged as 
a cabinet of natural history, was excellent ; a 
numerous collection of large wooden bricks filled 
one corner of the room ; the walls were hung with 
gay papers of different patterns, each representing 
some pretty group of figures ; large and excellent 
coloured engravings of birds and beasts were ex- 
hibited in succession as the theme of a little 
lesson ; and the sweet flute of Mr. Ibbertson gave 
tune and time to the prettiest little concert of 
chirping birds that I ever listened to. 

A geographical model, large enough to give 
clear ideas of continent, island, cape, isthmus, 
et cetera, all set in water, is placed before the 
children, and the pretty creatures point their little 
rosy fingers with a look of intense interest, as they 
are called upon to shew where each of them is to 
be found. The dress, both of boys and girls, was 
elegantly neat, and their manner, when called 



302 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

upon to speak individually, was well-bred, intelli- 
gent, and totally free from the rude indifference, 
which is so remarkably prevalent in the manners 
of American children. Mr. Ibbertson will be a 
benefactor to the Union, if he become the means 
of spreading the admirable method by which he 
has polished the manner, and awakened the intel- 
lect of these beautiful little Republicans. I have 
conversed with many American ladies on the total 
want of discipline and subjection which T observed 
universally among children of all ages, and I never 
found any who did not both acknowledge and de- 
plore the truth of the remark. In the state of 
Ohio they have a law (I know not if it exist else- 
where), that if a father strike his son, he shall pay 
a fine of ten dollars for every such offence. I 
was told by a gentleman of Cincinnati, that he 
had seen this fine inflicted there, at the requisition 
of a boy of twelve years of age, whose father, he 
proved, had struck him for lying. Such a law, 
they say, generates a spirit of freedom. What 
else may it generate ? 

Mr. Ibbertson, who seems perfectly devoted, 
heart and head to the subject, told me that he 



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OF THE AMERICANS. 303 

was employed in organizing successive schools 
that should receive the pupils as they advanced 
in age. If he prove himself as capable of com- 
pleting education, as he appears to be of beginning 
it, his institution will be a very valuable one. It 
would, indeed, be valuable any where; but in 
America, where discipline is not, where, from the 
shell, they are beings " that cannot rule, nor ever 
will be ruled," it is invaluable. 

About two miles from Baltimore is a fort, nobly 
situated on the Patapsco, and commanding the 
approach from the Chesapeak-bay. As our visit 
was on a Sunday we were not permitted to enter 
it. The walk to this fort is along a fine teiTace of 
beautiful verdure, which commands a magnificent 
view of the city, with its columns, towers, domes, 
and shipping; and also of the Patapsco river, 
which is here so wide as to present almost a sea 
view. This terrace is ornamented with abundance 
of evergreens, and wild roses innumerable, but, 
tlie whole region has the reputation of being un- 
healthy, and the fort itself most lamentably so. 
Before leaving the city of monuments, I must not 
omit naming one reared to the growing wealth of 



304 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

the coimtiy ; Mr. Barham's hotel is said to be the 
most splendid in the Union, and it is certainly 
splendid enough for a people more luxurious than 
the citizens of the republic appear yet to be. I 
heard different, and, indeed, perfectly contradictory 
accounts of the success of the experiment ; but at 
least every one seemed to agree that the liberal 
projector was fully entitled to exclaim, 

" 'Tis not in mortals to command success r 
I have done more, Jonathan, I've deserved it." 

After enjoying a very pleasant fortnight, the 
greater part of which was passed in rambling about 
this pretty city and its environs, we left it, not 
without regret, and all indulging the hope that we 
should be able to pay it another visit. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 305 



CHAPTER XX. 

Voyage to Washmgton — Capitol — City of Wash- 
ington — Congress — Indians — Funeral of a 
Member of Congress. 

By far the shortest route to Washington, both as 
to distance and time, is by land ; but I much 
wished to see the celebrated Chesapeak bay, 
and it was therefore decided that we should take 
our passage in the steam-boat. It is indeed a 
beautiful little voyage, and well worth the time it 
costs ; but as to the beauty of the bay, it must, I 
think, be felt only by sailors. It is, I doubt not, 
a fine shelter for ships, from the storms of the 
Atlantic, but its very vastness prevents its striking 
the eye as beautiful : it is, in fact, only a fine sea 
view. But the entrance from it into the Potomac 
river is very noble, and is one of the points at 
which one feels conscious of the gigantic propor- 



306 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

tions of the country, without having recourse to a 
graduated pencil-case. 

The passage up this river to Washington is in- 
teresting, from many objects that it passes, but 
beyond all else, by the vievi^ it affords of Mount 
Vernon, the seat of General Washington. It is 
there that this truly great man passed the last 
years of his virtuous life, and it is there that he lies 
buried : it was easy to distinguish, as we passed, 
the cypress that waves over his grave. 

The latter part of the voyage shews some fine 
river scenery ; but I did not discover this till some 
months afterwards, for we now arrived late at 
night. 

Our first object the next morning was to get a 
sight of the capitol, and our impatience sent us 
forth before breakfast. The mists of morning still 
hung around this magnificent building when first 
it broke upon our view, and I am not sure that the 
effect produced was not the greater for this cir- 
cumstance. At all events, we were struck with 
admiration and surprise. None of us, I believe, 
expected to see so imposing a structure on that 
side the Atlantic. I am ill at describing buildings. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 307 

but the beauty and majesty of the American ca- 
pitol might defy an abler pen than mine to do it 
justice. It stands so finely too, high, and alone. 

The magnificent western facade is approached 
from the city by terraces and steps of bolder pro- 
portions than I ever before saw. The elegant 
eastern front, to which many persons give the pre- 
ference, is on a level with a newly-planted but 
exceedingly handsome inclosure, which, in a few 
years, will offer the shade of all the most splendid 
trees which flourish in the Union, to cool the browns 
and refresh the spirits of the members. The view 
from the capitol commands the city and many 
miles around, and it is itself an object of imposing 
beauty to the whole country adjoining. 

We were again fortunate enough to find a very 
agreeable family to board with; and soon after 
breakfast left our comfortless hotel near the water, 
for very pleasant apartments in F. street *. 

I was delighted with the whole aspect of Wash- 
ington ; light, cheerful, and airy, it reminded me 

* The streets that intersect the great avenues in Washington 
are distinguished by the letters of the alphabet. 



308 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

of our fashionable watering-places. It has been 
laughed at by foreigners, and even by natives, 
because the original plan of the city was upon an 
enormous scale, and but a very small part of it has 
been as yet executed. But I confess I see nothing 
in the least degree ridiculous about it ; the original 
design, which was as beautiful as it was extensive, 
has been in no way departed from, and all that has 
been done has been done well. From the base 
of the hill on which the capitol stands extends a 
street of most magnificent width, planted on each 
side with trees, and ornamented by many splendid 
shops. This street, which is called Pennsylvania 
Avenue, is above a mile in length, and at the end 
of it is the handsome mansion of the President ; 
conveniently near to his residence are the various 
public offices, all handsome, simple, and commo- 
dious; ample areas are left round each, where 
grass and shrubs refresh the eye. In another of 
the principal streets is the general post-office, and 
not far from it a very noble town-hall. Towards the 
quarter of the President's house are several hand- 
some dwellings, which are chiefly occupied by the 
foreign ministers. The houses in the other parts of 



OF THE AMERICANS. 309 

the city are scattered, but without ever losing sight of 
theregularity of the original plan; and to a person 
who has been travelling much through the country, 
and marked the immense quantity of new manu- 
factories, new canals, new rail-roads, new towns, 
and new cities, which are springing, as it were, 
from the earth in every part of it, the appearance 
of the metropolis rising gradually into life and 
splendour, is a spectacle of high historic interest. 
Commerce had already produced large and 
handsome cities in America before she had attained 
to an individual political existence, and Wash- 
ington may be scorned as a metropolis, where such 
cities as Philadelphia and New York exist ; but I 
considered it as the growing metropolis of the 
growing population of the Union, and it already 
possesses features noble enough to sustain its 
dignity as such. 

The residence of the foreign legations and their 
families gives a tone to the society of this city 
which distinguishes it greatly from all others. It 
is also, for a great part of the year, the residence 
of the senators and representatives, who must be 
presumed to be the elite of the entire body of ci- 



310 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

tizens, both in respect to talent and education. 
This cannot fail to make Washington a more 
agreeable abode than any other city in the Union. 
The total absence of all sights, sounds, or smells 
of commerce, adds greatly to the charm. Instead 
of drays you see handsome carriages ; and instead 
of the busy bustling hustle of men, shuffling on to 
a sale of '* dry goods" or " prime broad stuffs," 
you see very well-dressed personages lounging 
leisurely up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Mr. Pishey Thompson, the English bookseller, 
with his pretty collection of all sorts of pretty 
literature, fresh from London, and Mr. Somebody, 
the jeweller, with his brilliant shop full of trinkets, 
are the principal points of attraction and business. 
What a contrast to all other American cities ! The 
members, who pass several months every year in 
this lounging easy way, with no labour but a little 
talking, and with the douceur of eight dollars a 
day to pay them for it, must feel the change sadly 
when their term of public service is over. 

There is another circumstance which renders 
the evening parties at Washington extremely un- 
like those of other places in the Union -, this is the 

13 



OF THE AMEEICANS. 311 

great majority of gentlemen. The expense, the 
trouble, or the necessity of a ruling eye at home, 
one or all of these reasons, prevents the members' 
ladies from accompanying them to Washington ; 
at least, I heard of very few who had their wives 
with them. The female society is chiefly to be 
found among the families of the foreign ministers, 
those of the officers of state, and of the few mem- 
bers, the wealthiest and most aristocratic of the 
land, who bring their families with them. Some 
few independent persons reside in or near the city, 
but this is a class so thinly scattered that they can 
hardly be accounted a part of the population. 

But, strange to say, even here a theatre cannot 
be supported for more than a few weeks at a time. 
I was told that gambling is the favourite recreation 
of the gentlemen, and that it is carried to a very 
considerable extent ; but here, as elsewhere within 
the country, it is kept extremely well out of sight. 
I do not think I was present with a pack of cards 
a dozen times during more than three years that 
I remained in the country. Billiards are much 
played, though in most places the amusement is 
illegal. It often appeared to me that the old 



312 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

women of a state made the laws, and the young 
men broke them. 

Notwithstanding the diminutive size of the city, 
we found much to see, and to amuse us. 

The patent office is a curious record of the 
fertility of the mind of man when left to its own 
resources ; but it gives ample proof also that it is 
not under such circumstances it is most usefully 
employed. This patent office contains models of 
all the mechanical inventions that have been pro- 
duced in the Union, and the number is enormous. 
I asked the man who shewed these, what propor- 
tion of them had been brought into use, he said 
about one in a thousand ; he told me also, that 
they chiefly proceeded from mechanics and agri- 
culturists settled in remote parts of the country, 
who had began by endeavouring to hit upon some 
contrivance to enable them to get along without 
sending some thousand and odd miles for the thing 
they wanted. If the contrivance succeeded, they 
generally became so fond of this offspring of their 
ingenuity, that they brought it to Washington for a 
patent. 

At the secretary of state's office we were shewn 



OF THE AMERICANS. 313 

autographs of all the potentates with whom the 
Union were in alliance ; which, I believe, pretty 
well includes all. To the parchments bearing these 
royal signs manual were appended, of course, the 
official seals of each, enclosed in gold or silver 
boxes of handsome workmanship : I was amused 
by the manner in which one of their own, just 
prepared for the court of Russia, was displayed to 
us, and the superiority of their decorations pointed 
out. They were superior, and in much better 
taste than the rest ; and I only wish that the feel- 
ing that induced this display would spread to 
every comer of the Union, and mix itself with 
every act and with every sentiment. Let America 
give a fair portion of her attention to the arts and 
the graces that embellish life, and I will make her 
another visit, and write another book as unlike 
this as possible. 

Among the royal signatures, the only ones which 
much interested me were two from the hand of 
Napoleon. The earliest of these, when he was 
first consul, was a most illegible scrawl, and, as 
the tradition went, was written on horseback ; but 
his writing improved greatly after he became an 

VOL. I. P 



314 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

emperor, the subsequent signature being firmly 
and clearly written. — I longed to steal both. 

The purity of the American character, formed 
and founded on thepurity of the American govern- 
ment, was made evident to our senses by the dis- 
play of all the offerings of esteem and regard which 
had been presented by various sovereigns to the 
different American ministers who had been sent to 
their courts. The object of the law which exacted 
this deposit from every individual so honoured, 
was, they told us, to prevent the possibility of 
bribery being used to con-upt any envoy of the 
Republic. T should think it would be a better 
way to select for the office such men as they felt 
could not be seduced by a sword or a snuff-box. 
But they, doubtless, know their own business 
best. 

The bureau for Indian affairs contains a room 
of great interest: the walls are entirely covered 
with original portraits of all the chiefs who, from 
time to time, have come to negociate wdth their 
great father, as they call the President. These 
portraits are by Mr. King, and, it cannot be 
doubted, are excellent likenesses, as ai'e all the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 315 

portraits I have ever seen from the hands of that 
gentleman. The countenances are full of ex- 
pression, but the expression in most of them is 
extremely similar ; or rather, I should say that 
they have but two sorts of expression ; the one is 
that of very noble and warlike daring, the other 
of a gentle and naive simplicity, that has no mix- 
ture of folly in it, but which is inexpressibly en- 
gaging, and the more touching, perhaps, because 
at the moment we were looking at them, those 
very hearts which lent the eyes such meek and 
friendly softness, were wrung by a base, cruel, and 
most oppressive act of their great father. 

We were at Washington at the time that the 
measure for chasing the last of several tribes of 
Indians from their forest homes, was canvassed in 
congress, and finally decided upon by the Jlat 
of the President. If the American character may 
be judged by their conduct in this matter, they are 
most lamentably deficient in every feeling of honour 
and integrity. It is among themselves, and from 
themselves, that I have heard the statements which 
represent them as treacherous and false almost be- 
yond belief in their intercourse with the unhappy 
p2 



316 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

Indians. Had I, during my residence in the United 
States, observed any single feature in their national 
character that could justify their eternal boast of 
liberality and the love of fi'eedonij I might have 
respected them, however much my taste might 
have been offended by what was peculiar in their 
manners and customs. But it is impossible for 
any mind of common honesty not to be revolted by 
the contradictions in their principles and practice. 
They inveigh against the governments of Europe, 
because, as they say, they favour the powerful and 
oppress the weak. You may hear this declaimed 
upon in Congress, roared out in taveras, discussed 
in every drawing-room, satirized upon the stage, 
nay, even anathematized from the pulpit : listen to 
it, and then look at them at home ; you will see 
them with one hand hoisting the cap of liberty, 
and \^ith the other flogging their slaves. You will 
see them one hour lecturing their mob on the in- 
defeasible rights of man, and the next driving 
from their homes the children of the soil, whom 
they have bound themselves to protect by the most 
solemn treaties. 

Injustice to those who approve not this trea- 



OF THE AMERICANS. 317 

cherous policy, I will quote a paragraph from a 
New York paper, which shews that there are some 
among them who look with detestation on the 
bold bad measure decided upon at Washington in 
the year 1830. 

^' We know^ of no subject, at the present mo- 
ment, of more importance to the character of our 
country for justice and integrity than that which 
relates to the Indian tribes in Georgia and Ala- 
bama, and particularly the Cherokees in the 
former state. The Act passed by Congress, just at 
the end of the session, co-operating with the ty- 
rannical and iniquitous statute of Georgia, strikes 
a formidable blow at the reputation of the United 
States, in respect to their faith, pledged in almost 
innumerable instances, in the most solemn treaties 
and compacts." 

There were many objects of much interest shewn 
us at this Indian bureau ; but, from the peculiar 
circumstances of this most unhappy and ill-used 
people, it was a very painful interest. 

The dresses worn by the chiefs when their por- 
traits were taken, are many of them splendid, from 
the embroidery of beads and other ornaments ; and 
p3 



318 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

the room contains many specimens of their inge- 
nuity, and even of their taste. There is a glass 
case in the room, wherein are an'anged specimens 
of worked muslin, and other needle-work, some 
very excellent hand-writing, and many other little 
productions of male and female Indians, all prov- 
ing clearly that they are perfectly capable of civil- 
ization. Indeed, the circumstance which renders 
their expulsion from their own, their native lands, 
so peculiarly lamentable, is, that they were yield- 
ing rapidly to the force of example ; their lives 
were no longer those of wandering hunters, but 
they were becoming agriculturists, and the ty- 
rannical arm of brutal power has not now driven 
them, as formerly, only from their hunting grounds, 
their favourite springs, and the sacred bones of 
their fathers, but it has chased them from the 
dwellings their advancing knowledge had taught 
them to make comfortable; from the newly - 
ploughed fields of their pride ; and from the crops 
their sweat had watered. And for what ? To add 
some thousand acres of ten'itory to the half-peopled 
wilderness which borders them. 



OF THE AMERICANS. 319 

The Potomac, on arriving at Washington, makes 
a beautiful sweep, which forms a sort of bay, round 
which the city is built. Just where it makes the 
turn, a wooden bridge is thrown across, con- 
necting the shores of Maryland and Virginia. This 
bridge is a mile and a quarter in length, and is 
ugly enough *. The navy-yard, and arsenal, are 
just above it, on the Maryland side, and make a 
handsome appearance on the edge of the river, 
following the sweep above mentioned. Near the 
arsenal (much too near) is the penitentiary, which, 
as it was just finished, and not inhabited, we exa- 
mined in every part. It is built for the purpose 
of solitary confinement for life. A gallows is a 
much less nerve-shaking spectacle than one of 
these awful cells, and assuredly, when imprison- 
ment therein for life is substituted for death, it is 
no mercy to the criminal ; but if it be a greater 
terror to the citizen, it may answer the purpose 
better. I do not conceive, that out of a hundred 
human beings who had been thus confined for a 

* It has since been washed away by the breaking up of the 
frost of February, 1831. 

P 4 



320 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

year, one would be found at the end of it who 
would continue to linger on there, cei^tain it was 
for eve7', if the alternative of being hanged were 
offered to them. I had written a description of 
these horrible cells, but Captain Hall's picture of 
a similar building is so accurate, and so clear, that 
it is needless to insert it. 

Still following the sweep of the river, at the 
distance of two miles from Washington, is George 
Town, formerly a place of considerable commercial 
importance, and likely, I think, to become so 
again, when the Ohio and Chesapeake canals, which 
there mouths into the Potomac, shall be in full 
action. It is a very pretty town, commanding a 
lovely view, of which the noble Potomac and the 
almost nobler capitol, are the great features. The 
country rises into a beautiful line of hills behind 
Washington, which form a sort of undulating ter- 
race on to George Town ; this teiTace is almost 
entirely occupied by a succession of gentlemen*s 
seats. At George Town the Potomac suddenly 
contracts itself, and begins to assume that rapid, 
rocky, and irregular character which marks it 
afterwards, and renders its course, till it meets the 



OF THE AMERICANS. 321 

Shenandoah at Harper's Ferry, a series of the 
most wild and romantic views that are to be found 
in America. 

Attending the debates in Congress was, of course, 
one of our great objects; and, as an English 
woman, I was perhaps the more eager to avail 
myself of the privilege allowed. It was repeatedly 
observed to me that, at least in this instance, I 
must acknowledge the superior gallantry of the 
Americans, and that they herein give a decided 
proof of surpassing the English in a wish to honour 
the ladies, as they have a gallery in the House of 
Representatives erected expressly for them, while 
in England they are rigorously excluded from every 
part of the House of Commons. 
. But the inference I draw from this is precisely 
the reverse of that suggested. It is well known 
that the reason why the House of Commons was 
closed against ladies was, that their presence was 
found too attractive, and that so many members 
were tempted to neglect the business before the 
House, that they might enjoy the pleasure of con- 
versing with the fair critics in the galleries, that it 
became a matter of national importance to banish 
p5 



322 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

them — and they were banished. It will be long 
ere the American legislature will find it necessary 
to pass the same law for the same reason. A lady 
of Washington, however, told me an anecdote 
which went far to shew that a more intellectual 
turn in the women, would produce a change in the 
manners of the men. She told me, that when the 
Miss Wrights were in Washington, with General 
Lafayette, they very frequently attended the de- 
bates, and that the most distinguished members 
were always crowding round them. For this un- 
wonted gallantry they apologized to their beautiful 
countrywomen by saying, that if they took equal 
interest in the debates, the galleries would be 
always thronged by the members. 

The privilege of attending these debates would 
be more valuable could the speakers be better 
heard from the gallery ; but, with the most earnest 
attention, I could only follow one or two of the 
orators, whose voices were peculiarly loud and 
clear. This made it really a labour to listen ; but 
the extreme beauty of the chamber was of itself a 
reason for going again and again. It was, however, 
really mortifying to see this splendid hall, fitted 





3/IEMBEM OF C&N^CrJ&F^S^ 



OF THE AMERICANS. 323 

up ill so stately and sumptuous a manner, filled 
with men, sitting in tlie most unseemly attitudes, 
a large majority with their hats on, and nearly 
a]l, spitting to an excess that decency forbids me 
to describe. 

Among the crowd, who must be included in this 
description, a few were distinguished by not wear- 
ing their hats, and by sitting on their chairs like 
other human beings, without throwing their legs 
above their heads. Whenever I enquired the 
name of one of these exceptions, I was told that it 
was Mr. This, or Mr. That, of Virginia. 

One day we were fortunate enough to get placed 
on the sofas between the pillars, on the floor of 
the House; the galleries being shut up, for the 
purpose of making some alterations, which it was 
hoped might improve the hearing in that part of 
the House occupied by the members, and which is 
universally complained of, as being very de- 
fective *. But in our places on the sofas we 

* As a proof of this defective hearing in the Hall of Congress, 
I may quote a passage from a newspaper report of a debate on 
improvements. It was proposed to suspend a ceiling of glass 
fifteen feet above the heads of the members. A member, speak- 

p6 



324 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

found we heard very mucli better than up stairs, 
and well enough to be extremely amused by the 
rude eloquence of a thorough horse and alligator 
orator from Kentucky, odio entreated the house 
repeatedly to '* go the whole hog." 

If I mistake not, every debate I listened to in 
the American Congress was upon one and the 
same subject, namely, the entire independence of 
each individual state, with regard to the federal 
government. The jealousy on this point appeared 
to me to be the very strangest political feeling that 
ever got possession of the mind of man. I do not 
pretend to judge the merits of this question. I 
speak solely of the very singular effect of seeing 
man after man start eagerly to his feet, to declare 
that the greatest injury, the basest injustice, the 
most obnoxious tyranny that could be practised 
against the state of which he was a member, 
would be a vote of a few million dollars for the 

ing in favour of this proposal, said, " Members would then, 
at least, be able to understand what was the question before the 
House, an advantage which most of them did not now possess, 
respecting more than half the propositions upon which they 
voted." 



OF THE AMERICANS. 325 

purpose of making their roads or canals ; or for 
drainage ; or, in short, for any purpose of improve- 
ment whatsoever. 

During the month we were at Washington, I 
heard a great deal of conversation respecting a 
recent exclusion from Congress of a gentleman, 
who, by every account, was one of the most es- 
teemed men in the house, and, I think, the father 
of it. The crime for which this gentleman was 
out-voted by his own particular friends and ad- 
mirers was, that he had given his vote for a grant 
of public money for the purpose of draining a 
most lamentable and unhealthy district, called 
" the dismal swamp /" 

One great boast of the country is, that they have 
no national debt, or that they shall have none in 
two years. This seems not very wonderful, con- 
sidering their productive tariff, and that the in- 
come paid to their president is 6,000Z. per annum ; 
other government salaries being in proportion, 
and all internal improvements, at the expense 
of the government treasury, being voted uncon- 
stitutional. 

The Senate-chamber is, like the Hall of Con- 



3^26 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

gress, a semicircle, but of very much smaller 
dimensions. It is most elegantly fitted up, and 
what is better still, the senators, generally speak- 
ing, look like gentlemen. They do not wear their 
hats, and the activity of youth being happily 
past, they do not toss their heels above their 
heads. I would I could add they do not spit ; 
but, alas ! " I have an oath in heaven," and may 
not write an untruth. 

A very handsome room, opening on a noble 
stone balcony is fitted up as a library for the rqem- 
bers. The collection, as far as a very cursory 
view could enable me to judge, was very like that 
of a private English gentleman, but with less 
Latin, Greek, and Italian. This room also is 
elegantly furnished ; rich Brussels carpet ; library 
tables, with portfolios of engravings; abund- 
ance of sofas, and so on. The view from it is 
glorious, and it looks like the abode of luxury and 
taste. 

I can by no means attempt to describe all the 
apartments of this immense building, but the 
magnificent rotunda in the centre must not be 
left unnoticed. It is, indeed, a noble hall, a 



OF THE AMERICANS. 3*27 

hundred feet in diameter, and of an imposing- 
loftiness, lighted by an ample dome. 

Almost any pictures (excepting the cartoons) 
would look paltry in this room, from the immense 
height of the walls ; but the subjects of the four 
pictures which are placed there, are of such high 
historic interest that they should certainly have a 
place somewhere, as national records. One repre- 
sents the signing of the declaration of inde- 
pendence ; another the resignation of the presi- 
dency by the great Washington ; another the 
celebrated victory of General Gates at Saratoga ; 
and the fourth . . . . I do not well remember, 
but I think it is some other martial scene, com- 
memorating a victoiy ; I rather think that of York 
Town. 

One other object in the capitol must be men- 
tioned, though it occurs in so obscure a part of the 
building, that one or two members to whom I 
mentioned it, were not aware of its existence. 
The lower part of the edifice, a story below 
the rotunda, &c., has a variety of committee 
rooms, courts, and other places of business. In a 
hall leading to some of these rooms, the ceiling is 



328 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

supported by pillars, the capitals of which struck 
me as peculiarly beautiful. They are composed 
of the ears and leaves of the Indian corn, beauti- 
fully arranged, and forming as graceful an outline 
as the acanthus itself. This was the only instance 
1 saw, in which America has ventured to attempt 
national originality ; the success is perfect. A 
sense of fitness always enhances the effect of 
beauty. T will not attempt a long essay on the 
subject, but if America, in her vastness, her im- 
mense natural resources, and her remote grandeur, 
would be less imitative, she would be infinitely 
more picturesque and interesting. 

The President has regular evening parties, every 
other Wednesday, which are called his levees; 
the last syllable is pronounced by every one as 
long as possible, being exactly the reverse of the 
French and English manner of pronouncing the 
same word. The effect of this, from the very 
frequent repetition of the word in all companies, 
is very droll, and for a long time I thought people 
were quizzing these public days. The reception 
rooms are handsome, particularly the grand saloon, 
which is elegantly, nay, splendidly furnished; 



OF THE AMERICANS. 329 

this has been done since the visit of Captain Hall, 
whose remarks upon the former state of this room 
may have hastened its decoration ; but there are 
a few anomalies in some parts of the entertain-, 
ment, which are not very courtly. The company 
are about as select as that of an Easter-day ball 
at the Mansion-house. 

The churches at Washington are not superb ; 
but the Episcopalian and Catholic were filled with 
elegantly dressed women. I observed a greater 
proportion of gentlemen at church at Washington 
than any where else. 

The Presbyterian ladies go to church three 
times in the day, but the general appearance of 
Washington on a Sunday is much less puritanical 
than that of most other American towns ; the 
people walk about, and there are no chains in the 
streets, as at Philadelphia, to prevent their riding 
or driving, if they like it. 

The ladies dress well, but not so splendidly as 
at Baltimore. I remarked that it was not very 
unusual at Washington for a lady to take the arm 
of a gentleman, who was neither her husband, 
her father, nor her brother. This remarkable 



330 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

relaxation of American decorum has been probably 
introduced by the foreign legations. 

At about a mile from the town, on the high 
ten-ace ground above described, is a very pretty 
place, to which the proprietor has given the name 
of Kaleirama. It is not large, or in any way 
magnificent, but the view from it is charming ; 
and it has a little wood behind, covering about 
two hundred acres of broken ground, that slopes 
down to a dark cold little river, so closely shut in 
by rocks and evergreens, that it might serve as a 
noon-day bath for Diana and her nymphs. The 
whole of this wood is filled w^ith wild flowers, but 
such as we cherish fondly in our gardens. 

A ferry at George Town crosses the Potomac, 
and about two miles from it, on the Virginian side, 
is Arlington, the seat of Mr. Custis, who is the 
grandson of General Washington's wife. It is a 
noble looking place, having a portico of stately 
white columns, which, as the mansion stands high, 
with a back ground of dark w^oods, forms a beau- 
tiful object in the landscape. At George Town 
is a nunnery, where many young ladies are edu- 
cated, and at a little distance from it, a college of 



OF THE AMERICANS. 331 

Jesuits for the education of young men, where, as 
their advertisements state, " the humanities are 

taught." 

We attended mass at the chapel of the nun- 
nery, where the female voices that performed the 
chant were very pleasing. The shadowy form 
of the veiled abbess in her little sacred parlour, 
seen through a grating and a black curtain, but 
rendered clearly visible by the light of a Gothic 
window behind her, drew a good deal of our atten- 
tion ; every act of genuflection, even the telling 
her beads, w^as discernible, but so mistily that it 
gave her, indeed, the appearance of a being who 
had already quitted this life, and was hovering on 
the confines of the world of shadows. 

The convent has a considerable inclosure at- 
tached to it, w^here I frequently saw fi'om the 
heights above it, dark figures in awfully thick black 
veils, walking solemnly up and down. 

The American lady, who was the subject of one 
of Prince Hohenlohe's celebrated miracles, was 
pointed out to us at Washington. All the world 
declare that her recovery was marvellous. 



332 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

There apj^eared to be a great many foreigners 
at Washington, particularly French. In Paris I 
have often observed that it was a sort of fashion 
to speak of America as a new Utopia, especially 
among the young liberals, who, before the happy 
accession of Philip, fancied that a country without 
a king, was the land of promise ; but I sometimes 
thought that, like many other fine things, it lost part 
of its brilliance when examined too nearly ; I over- 
heard the following question and answer pass be- 
tween two young Frenchmen, who appeared to 
have met for the first time. 

" Eh bien, Monsieur, comment trouvez-vous la 
liberte et I'egalite mises en action ?" 

" Mais, Monsieur, je vous avoue que le beau 
ideal que nous autres, nous avons con9u de tout 
cela a Paris, avait quelque chose de plus poetique 
que ce que nous trouvons ici !" 

On another occasion I was excessively amused 
by the tone in which one of these young men 
replied to a question put to him by another 
Frenchman. A pretty looking woman, but ex- 
ceedingly deficient in tournure, was standing 
alone at a little distance from them, and close at 



OF THE AMERICANS. 333 

their elbows stood a very awkward looking gentle- 
man. " Qui est cette dame ?" said the enquirer. 
*' Monsieur/' said my young fat^ with an inde- 
scribable grimace, " c'est la femelle de ce male," 
indicating his neighbour by an expressive curl of 
his upper lip. 

The theatre was not open while we were in 
Washington, but we afterwards took advantage of 
our vicinity to the city, to visit it. The house is 
very small, and most astonishingly dirty and void 
of decoration, considering that it is the only place 
of public amusement that the city affords. I have 
before mentioned the want of decorum at the Cin- 
cinnati theatre, but certainly that of the capital 
at least rivalled it in the freedom of action and 
attitude ; a freedom which seems to disdain the 
restraints of civilized manners. One man in 
the pit was seized with a violent fit of vomit- 
ing, which appeared not in the least to annoy 
or surprise his neighbours ; and the happy coin- 
cidence of a physician being at that moment per- 
sonated on the stage, was hailed by many of the 
audience as an excellent joke, of which the actor 
took advantage, and elicited shouts of applause 



334 DOMESTIC MANNERS 

by saying, " I expect my services are wanted 
elsewhere." 

The spitting was incessant ; and not one in ten 
of the male part of the illustrious legislative audi- 
ence sat according to the usual custom of human 
beings ; the legs were thrown sometimes over the 
front of the box, sometimes over the side of it; 
here and there a senator stretched his entire length 
along a bench, and in many instances the front 
rail was prefeiTed as a seat. 

I remarked one young man, whose handsome 
person, and most elaborate toilet, led me to con- 
clude he was a first-rate personage, and so I doubt 
not he was ; nevertheless, I saw him take from 
the pocket of his silk waistcoat a lump of tobacco, 
and daintily deposit it within his cheek. 

I am inclined to think this most vile and uni- 
versal habit of chewing tobacco is the cause of a 
remarkable peculiarity in the male physiognomy 
of Americans; their lips are almost uniformly 
thin and compressed. At first I accounted for 
this upon Lavater's theory, and attributed it to 
the arid temperament of the people ; but it is too 
uni\'ersal to be so explained ; whereas the habit 
13 



OF THE AMERICANS. 335 

above mentioned, which pervades all classes (ex- 
cepting the literary) well accounts for it, as the 
act of expressing the juices of this loathsome 
herb, enforces exactly that position of the lips, 
which gives this remarkable peculiarity to the 
American countenance. 

A member of Congress died while we were at 
Washington, and I was surprised by the ceremony 
and dignity of his funeral. It seems that when- 
ever a senator or member of Congress dies during 
the session, he is buried at the expense of the 
goveniment, (this ceremony not coming under the 
head of internal improvement), and the arrange- 
ments for the funeral are not interfered with by 
his friends, but become matters of State. 1 tran- 
scribed the order of the procession as being rather 
grand and stately. 

Chaplains of both Houses. 
Physicians who attended the deceased. 
Committee of arrangement. 
THE BODY, 
(Pall borne by six members.) 
The Relations of the deceased, with the Senators and Repre- 
sentatives of the State to which he belonged, as 
Mourners. 



336 DOMESTIC MANNERS, &C. 

Sergeant at arms of the Huube of Representatives. 

The House of Representatives, 

Their Speaker and Clerk preceding. 

The Senate of the United States. 

The Vice-president and Secretary preceding, 

The President. 

The procession was of considerable extent, but 
not on foot, and the majority of the carriages 
were hired for the occasion. The body was in- 
terred in an open ** grave yard " near the city. I 
did not see the monument erected on this occasion, 
but 1 presume it was in the same style as several 
others I had remarked in the sameburying-ground, 
inscribed to the memory of members who had died 
at Washington. These were square blocks of 
masonry without any pretension to splendour. 



END OF VOL. I. 



GILBERT & RTVINGTON, PRINTERS, 
St. John's Square, London. 



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